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VOL. I. 


"From the past 
Gome trae hearts broken, gentle spirits torn, ; 
And crashed affections, which, though long o'erbome, 
Hake their tone heard at laat" 

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It is my pleasing duty to acknowledge my 
obligations to Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bart., who 
allowed me unlimited access to his inestimable 
collection of manuscripts; to Lord Houghton, 
for procuring me permission to examine another 
rich private collection; to the Rev. Edmund 
Kell, for a similar kindness ; and to George Digby 
Wingfield Digby, Esq., for permission to engrave 
the portrait of Lady Arabella Stuart from the 
original miniature in his possession. 





































I >r 




ROR more than two centuries the fragments 
of a mournful tale have floated down the 
records of English history. They relate to 
a woman of tender hearty of bright intellect, of 
graceful manners, of royal blood, and with no 
higher ambition than to be mistress of a private 
and peaceful home. Yet such was her untoward 
fate, that, without any design of her own, 
around her name gathered dark conspiracies 
both in England and in foreign lands ; nobles, 
priests, kings, and even the pope himself, held 
her up as a terror to the reigning monarch, and 
as a prize to the most aspiring adventurers of 
the day. Guiltless of the crimes, enjoying none 
of the rewards, she suflered the utmost penalties 
of ambition, and among those who have been 
the most cruelly punished for the misfortunes of 
rank, she holds a foremost place. Never was a 
dearer price paid for royal blood than by the 
unfortunate Arabella Stuart. 

VOL. i; B 






\ ^ 




VOL. I. 

8 Life and Letters of \^Si(>^ 

is done and committed within the time of this 
present Parliament, and in the King^s own Court 
and House, his Grace there being for affairs of 
his Parliament. It may therefore please the 
King^s Highness, at the most humble intercession 
of the Lords spiritual and temporal, and the 
Commons, in their present Parliament assem- 
bled, that it may be enacted, by authority of 
the same, that the said offence shall be adjudged 
and deemed High Treason, and that the said Lord 
Thomas Howard, for his said offence, shall be 
attainted of High Treason, and shall have and 
suffer such pains and execution of Death to all 
intents and purposes, as in cases of high 

Thus this Act especially acknowledges the 
popular feeling in favour of a successor horn in 
the realm, to the exclusion of a nearer heir bom 
on foreign soU. 

It was followed immediately by another statute, 
to which the reader's attention is especially called, 
seeing that we shall have occasion to refer to it 
hereafter : — 

''And be it farther enacted by authority aforesaid, 
that if any Man of what estate, degree, or condition 
soever he be, at any time hereafter take upon him 
to espouse, marry, or take to his wife any of the 

* Statutes of the Realm, Henry VIII. chap. xxiv. 


^536*] Lady Arabella Stuart. 9 

Eling's children (being lawfully born or otherwise 
commonly reputed or taken for his children)^ or 
any of the King's Sisters or Aunts of the part of 
the Father (or any of the lawful children) of the 
king's Brothers or Sisters (not being married), or 
contract marriage with any of them, without 
the special license, assent, consent, and agree- 
ment first thereunto had and obtained of the 
King's Highness in writing under his great seal, 
shall be deemed and adjudged a Traitor to the 
King and to his Realm, and that every such 
offence hereafter to be done, made, or perpetrated 
contrary to this Act, shall be adjudged and 
deemed to be High Treason ,* and that every man 
so offending and their abettors, procurers, com- 
forters, counsellors, and aiders, being lawfully 
confict of any such offence according to the laws 
of this B/ealm, shall have and suffer such like 
pains and execution of Death, losses of privilege, 
of Sanctuary, and forfeitures of Lands, Tenants, 
and Hereditaments to all intents and purposes, 
as iQ cases of High Treason appertataeth. Saving 
to all and every person and persons, bodies politic 
and corporate, their heirs and successors, and 
to the heirs and successors of every of them, 
other than the said Lord Thomas Howard and 
his heirs, and all other persons which shaU 
fortune hereafter to be attainted by authority of 

10 Life and Letters of \j53l^' 

this Act, and their heirs and every of them, all 
such right, title, interest, possession, leases, an- 
nuities, rent, service, revisions, remainders, offices, 
fees, commons conditions and other commodities, 
profits, and Hereditaments, in snch manner, form, 
quality, and condition as they or any of them 
have had, should or might have had, if this Act 
had never been had nor made, anything in this 
present act to the contrary thereof notwith- 

" Provided alway and be it enacted, that in 
every such case before rehearsed the Woman ^^ 
(after the last day of this Parliament) so offend*^' 
ing, being within the degrees before specified, si 
incur like danger and penalty as is before limits 
and shall sufier such like Death and Punishmen 
as is before appointed, to the man oflending in 
manner and form expressed in this Act/'* 

Modern historians sometimes cast a longing, 
hankering glance back to the happy days of 
Henry VIII. It is possible that the two 
lovers would have thrown an equally yearning 
gaze down to our own time, could they have 
foreseen the change between the two periods. 
Though the above statute was not passed till 
after the crime of betrothal was committed, Lord 
Thomas Howard was attainted of High Treason, 

♦ Statutes of the Eealm, Henry VIII. chap. xxiv. 

^537-] Lady Arabella Stuart. 11 

and this Act of attainder actually precedes in the 
statute-book the very Act he is supposed to 
offend against. 

Lord Howard and Margaret Douglas were 
immediately thrown into separate prisons in the 
Tower, where they both fell dangerously ill of 
the intermittent fever that was one of the minor 
punishments of the State prison. 

In November, Margaret was removed to Sion 
Abbey, where she remained till the birth of 
Prince Edward deprived her of the invidious 
chance of being considered heiress presumptive 
to the crown; and her danger decreasing with 
her rank, she was set at liberty by the king. 
But Lord Thomas Howard, who had been allowed 
no change from the damp air of the Tower, sunk 
under his disease, and died a prisoner on the 
31st of October, 1537. His noble relative, the 
poet Earl of Surrey, ascribes his death to his 
pining for the love of Margaret. It is to be 
feared, however, that this romance is ill founded, 
and that physical ailments were the cause of 
Howard^s death. Disappointed love will cause 
murder and suicide, it will render men moody 
and irritable, it will destroy their energies, their 
ambitions, will plunge them into dissipation, and 
send them to seek oblivion for a time in foreign 
lands ; but I am unaware of a single authentic 



Life and Letters of [i544* 

instance of a man dying of a broken heart for 
the love of the fairest woman that ever existed. 

With slight interruptions^ Margaret Douglas 
retained the favour of Henry VIII., who, in the 
thirtieth year of her age, married her to one of 
the proudest nobles of Scotland, Matthew Earl 
of Lennox, in order, by this alliance, to detach 
the powerful earl from Scotland, and make him 
a creature of his own. Lennox agreed to sur- 
render the castles of Dumbarton and Rothesay, 
to be a faithful servant of the king, to deliver 
up the whole island of Bute, to do his best to 
place the infant Queen of Scots in the power of 
Henry, and finally to settle, from his Scotch 
possessions, the following lands on his bride. 

'^ First, the land of Glenrinne, Balloch, and 
Arlthinturlees, with all their appurtenances, lying 
in the Earldoni of Lennox and Sheriffdom of 
Dumbarton. Likewise all the baronies of Chu- 
kespe, Tuchilune, Craig of Nielstone, lying within 
the lordship of Darnley and Chiefdom of Ren- 
freU. Thirdly, with all the lands of Erere, lying 
in the Sheriffdom of Perht, to the yearly value 
of Five hundred marks sterling over and above all 

In return for this, as poor Margaret was quite 
penniless, and possessed nothing but what she 

* Rymer's "Foedera," xv. p. 30. 

1545-] Lady Arabella Stuart. 13 

owed to her English relations^ Henry agreed to 
settle on her and the Earl and their heirs, 
" lands and possessions in the realm of England 
to the clear yearly value of seventeen hundred 
marks sterling/^* Early in the next year, Mar- 
garet, now Countess of Lennox, became the 
mother oi a son, who survived his birth but nine 
months ; but on the 7th of December, 1545, 
at Temple Newsome, Margaret gave birth to 
the father of the race, who, to the present day, 
wear the British crown, Henry Stuart, Lord 
Damley, and (several children dying in the in- 
terval) eleven years later, her youngest son, 
Charles, was bom. 

The short and woeful career of Damley is 
well known. Charles came in a later period, 
when the misfortunes of his parents prevented 
them from bestowing the care and expense on 
his education that rendered his brother Damley 
one of the most accomplished fops of the day. 
All the Scotch estates of the Earl of Lennox 
had been confiscated on account of his treason, 
and this, added to his unsettled life, afforded a 
poor chance for the youngest son. 

At six years of age, Charles was a prisoner 
with his mother, who had provoked the jealousy 
of Elizabeth by some unguarded expressions con- 

* Bymer's " Foedera," xv. p. 30. 

14 Life and Letters of \}S1^* 

ceming the Queen of Scots, and was in eon- 
sequence placed in custody at Sheen. 

On the marriage of Damley with the Queen 
of Scots, Margaret was lodged in the Tower, and 
Charles, who was then only nine years old, was 
committed by Queen Elizabeth to the charge of 
Lady Knevet. Care was taken of his healthy 
and one or two attendants were allowed him; 
but the imprisonment of his mother and the 
absence of his father, who was constantly en- 
gaged in warfare in Scotland, had the necessary 
effect on Charles, and in 1571, when Margaret, 
released from prison, found herself a widow, the 
neglected state of the education of her youngest 
son was a source of regret and anxiety. Charles 
was of an affectionate and gentle nature, but he 
was deficient in the accomplishments befitting 
the son of a nobleman ; and Margaret, therefore, 
wrote to Sir William Cecil beseeching him to 
take her only remaining hope into his house, 
there to be educated in a manner becoming his 
rank, and there possibly to escape the animosity 
that the too prominent characters of her hus- 
band and eldest son had provoked, and with it, 
their untimely deaths.* 

It is uncertain whether Sir William Cecil 
complied with this request. He, at any rate, 

* "Life of Lady Margaret Douglas," by Miss Strickland. 

I574-] Lady Arabella Stuart. 15 

appointed a Protestant tutor named Malliet, who 
spoke of Charles as jnst entering on his sixteenth 
year, and as giving " hopes of great promise for 
the future/^ more^ however, on account of his 
proximity to the throne than for any signs of 
genius or proficiency. 

On the 18th of April, 1572, James granted 
the earldom of Lennox to Charles Stuart and his 
Theirs, without condition or restriction, and 
on the 2nd of May, 1572, Queen Elizabeth 
wrote a letter to the Earl of Mar, Regent 
of Scotland, thanking him for this proof of 
the king's kindness to her kinsman, Charles 

A prospect of peace and competence seemed at 
last to unfold before Margaret Lennox, and a 
promise of repose to welcome her declining 
years. She and her son settled to reside in 
their house at Hackney,t where we wiU hope 
that Charles applied himself diligently to his 
studies, and made up as far as possible for lost 
time, till his watchful mother, thinking it neces- 
sary to look out for a wife for him, obtained the 
queen^s permission to pay a visit to Scotland. 
On the 9th of October, 1574, when Charles was 

• Letter of Queen Elizabeth.^State Papers, Scotch Series, 
May 2, 1672. MS. 

t See Appendix ii. 1. 

16 Life and Letters of [1574. 

nineteen years of age^ the mother and son de- 
parted for the north. 

Travelling was slow work in those days ; 
the bad roads were a painful and wearisome 
hindrance^ and^ as horseback was the usual, mode 
of locomotion, even for aged ladies, a comfortable 
resting-place was especially to be desired after a 
long day's journey. And when Margaret Len- 
nox and her son had arrived near Derbyshire, 
they foimd a house thrown open to them, whose 
inmates gave them so hearty a reception, so 
royal a welcome, that we must leave the travellers 
awhile to rest, and give some account of their 
hospitable hosts. 


1519-74.] Lady Arabella Stuart 




BY the side of the magnifieeiit building in 

Derbyshire known as Hardwick Hall^may 

still be seen a hoary ruin, overgrown with 

moss and ivy, and carpeted with grass and weeds. 

In the reign of King Henry VIII. this ruin was 

a comfortable dwelling, inhabited by a country 

gentleman of ancient family, of the name of John 

Hardwick, and by Elizabeth, his wife. Hardwick 

was also the name of the estate of about four 

hundred acres, on which the owner dwelt, and 

where his ancestors had flourished for five or six 

generations. John Hardwick was the father of 

a numerous family, of whom by far the most 

attrp-ctive and prominent was Elizabeth, or, as 

she was irreverently styled, " Bess of Hardwick.^' 

Bess was very fair in person, with a delicate 

complexion, bright, sparkling hazel eyes, that 

changed colour with every light, and expression 

with every feeling; light auburn hair, and 

aquiline nose; white, taper hands, and a slim, 

VOL. I. c 

18 Life and Letters of [1519-74. 

graceful figure^ of middle height. Only the 
rather sharp chin and thin^ red lips seemed to 
speak of other things than the contour, taken 
altogether, at first expressed.* But Bess had 
something more than good looks. She was one 
of the best — ^perhaps the very best — ^housekeeper 
in the county. Brewing, baking, cooking, drying 
herbs, and keeping accountsf strictly, were done 
to perfection under her direction, and woe to the 
unlucky servant who neglected to brew ^^ here ^' 
for her own ^^ drynkynge,^^ or forgot to provide 
due store of charcoal and wood, or allowed the 
floors to remain unplastered, or the windows to 
be broken during the absence of their mistress. 
Forbidding all "superfleuete or waste of any- 
thinge,^^ she would yet have all' that was ^^ need- 
foulle and nesesary,^^ and all in such good order, 
that, without doubt, as far as creature comforts 
went, whenever Bess ruled, there was a com- 
fortable house, t 

Bess was quite aware that these qualities and 
her sprightly manners and appearance formed by 
far the largest part of her fortune, for her father, 
though able to maintain a good establishment for 

• Her portrait may still be seen at Hardwick Hall, 
t These are still to be seen in her own handwriting at 
X See her letter in Hunter's " History of Sheffield.'* 

1519-74-] Lady Arabella Stuart. 19 

his family when its members were all under his 
roof together, could not afford to give them more 
tlian forty marks, or not quite twenty-seven 
pounds, apiece for their dowries.* It may be 
tliought that the skill of Bess in management 
^would have made her an excellent wife to a poor 
gentleman, or one who needed a little income to 
go a long way ; but Bess had no inclination for 
that kind of thing. Talent and economy can be 
shown in the ordering of a large as well as a 
small sum, and the leanings of Bess were most 
decidedly in the former direction. Had Tacitus 
described her at this period of her life, it would 
probably have been as " not despicable in point 
of morals, save that she believed poverty to be 
the chief of evils. ^^f 

Bess was only fourteen years old when an 
influential connexion of her family, named Lady 
Zouch, gave her an invitation to London, which 
was readily accepted. But Bess was not the 
only visitor. At the house of Lady Zouch was 
a young gentleman named Robert Barlow, of 
Barlow, and one of the richest landholders in 
Derbyshire. When Bess arrived at the house of 
Lady Zouch, Mr. Barlow was confined to his 
chamber with a chronic complaint, and the 

* " Archaeologia," vol. xxxii. p. 80. 
t Tacitus, " Annals." 

c 2 

20 Life and Letters of [1519-74- 

sympathies of Bess were soon enlisted on behalf 
of the wealthy sufferer. She speedily became 
his nurse, arranged his diet and medicines, and, 
by her unremitting attentions, converted his sick- 
room into a habitation of light and hope. His 
health gradually improved, and with health 
came the resolution to offer himself and his 
fortune to his devoted nurse.* Her consent was 
soon obtained. A will was made, by which the 
whole of BarloVs possessions were secured to 
Bess and her heirs, and, at the age of fourteen, 
she became the wife of Barlow. But his happi- 
ness was of short duration. On the 2nd of 
February, ISSS,*}* Barlow died, leaving Bess a 
young, charming, and wealthy widow. No record 
remains of her grief for her husband ; yet though, 
without doubt, she had many suitors, Bess re- 
mained a widow for fourteen years. The proba- 
bility is, that, having secured wealth with her 
first husband, she required wealth and title with 
the second, and her youth and riches allowed 
her ample time to wait for the attainment of 
this object. 

At the end of fourteen years, the destined 

* "MS. History, of George, Earl of Shrewsbury," by 
Nathaniel Johnstone, M.D., quoted by Miss Costello, " Emi« 
nent Englishwomen," vol. i. 

t CoUins*" Peerage." 


^5^9-74] Lady Arabella Stuart 21 

suitor appeared. Sir William Cavendish was the 
second son of Thomas Cavendish, a gentleman 
" who, after the example of his ancestors, took to 
the study of the laws/^ and became clerk of the 
Pipe in the Exchequer in the reign of King Henry 
VIII. William received " divers lands in Suflfolk'' 
from his father, and, what was far better, a liberal 
education, which still further advanced him, till 
Henry VIII. took notice of him, and constituted 
him one of the commissioners for visiting and 
receiving the surrenders of some of the monas- 

** Then he came in his might, with King Henry's right, 
To turn church lands to lay. 
With sword in hand, and torch to light 
Their walls, if they said nay." 

In this capacity he received the seals of the 
monasteries of Sheen and St. Albans. In 1539, 
he was made one of the auditors of the Court of 
Augmentation,* and, in consideration of his ser- 
vices, received a grant to himself, to Margaret 
his wife, and his heirs and assigns, of the lord- 
ships and manors of Northawe, Cuffeley and Chyl- 
dewyke in Hertfordshire. , Soon after, his wife 
died, leaving him four daughters. He did not 
long remain unmarried, but took for his second 

* So called hecause the King's revenue was much aug- 
mented by the monastery lands. 

22 Life and Letters of [1519-74. 

wife Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Conyngsby, 
and widow of Sir William Paris. She soon died, 
leaving him two daughters. His worldly pros- 
perity still increased. 

He was made treasurer of the chamber to the 
king, and received the honour of knighthood. 
The death of Henry made no difference to his 
good fortune. Edward VI. continued him in 
all his offices, and made him a member of his 
Privy Council. Widowhood had no charms for 
Cavendish, and the fair young relict of Barlow, 
who was at least twenty years his junior, irresist- 
ibly attracted^ him, chiefly, it is said, by her 
beauty,^ but probably quite as much by her in- 
telligence and winsome manners. The marriage 
took place at Brodgate, in Leicestershire, a seat 
of the Marquis of Dorset, on the 20th of August, 
1547, '^ at two of the clock after midnight.^^f 
Cavendish was no less yielding than Barlow to 
the enqhanting Bess. At her desire, he sold his 
southern estates and bought new land in Derby- 
shire, where her own friends and kindred were 
settled. And now Bess became not only a hope- 
fiil mother of sons and daughters, but one of the 
most important personages in her native county. 

Among the visitors at the baptisms of her 

* Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle, 
t Diary of Sir William Cavendish. 


i5^9"74-] Lady Arabella Stuart 23 

eight children, we find the names of the Duke 
and Duchess of Suflfolk, the Marchioness of 
Northampton, the Marquis of Winchester, the 
Earls of Shrewsbury, Pembroke, and Warwick ; 
Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, the Ladies Jane 
and Katherine Grey, and even the Queen^s 
Majesty herself, acting as sponsor by proxy.* 
For her children, Bess manifested that fierce 
aflfection which is shown less in care for their 
moral and spiritual well-being, than by pushing 
them forward in the world, and striving to exalt 
and enrich them without let or hindrance, and 
very often at the expense of honesty and justice. 
As they were all bom within ten years after her 
marriage, we might suppose her time to be fully 
occupied, without any other cares to distract her. 
But Bess was not one of those women who do 
nothing ^^ for want of time.^^ Her household 
was as rigidly and comfortably managed as ever, 
and her steward^s accounts as carefully revised 
and signed by her own hand as when she was 
the unencumbered Mistress Barlow. She be- 
came a builder on a large scale. Ambitious of 
leaving to posterity a worthy and solid memorial 
of her presence in Derbyshire, and fixing her 
eye on the estate of " Chattesworthes,^^t ^'^^ in 

* Hunter's "Sheffield." 
f Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle. 

24 Life and Letters of [1519-74. 

possession of the family of the Leeches, who were 
her near relations, she easily prevailed on her 
husband to buy it, and begin to build a mansion, 
which is now represented and succeeded by the 
ducal palace of Chatsworth. 

Before the house was finished, Sir William 
Cavendish died, on the 25th of October, 1557, and 
Bess was again a widow, but now of the discreet 
age of forty. Though sincerely attached to her 
second husband, and marking him in her register 
as her " most dear and well-beloved, on whose 
soule I most humbly beseech the Lord to have 
mercy, and to rid me and his poor children out 
of our great misery,^' Bess in due time allowed 
herself to be consoled. Nor must we accuse her 
of special want of feeling on that account. In 
the times in which she lived, it was a rare thing 
for either man or woman to remain in a state of 
widowhood, if possessed of even moderate attrac- 
tions, and the criticisms which in the present 
age would pursue a lady marrying for the third 
time, would, in the days of Bess, have awakened 
astonishment at the critic rather than contempt 
at the criticised. Bess only acted like the most 
beautiful and celebrated women of her day — 
women over whom poets and historians have 
thrown a halo of refined romance and admiration. 
Mary Stuart, Lettice KnoUys, and the Queens 


15^9-74-] Lady Arabella Stuart. 25 

Margaret Tudor and Catherine Parr^ were 
equally fickle, the chief diflTerence between them 
and Bess being, that their influence over their 
successive consorts was far inferior to hers. 
Nor is it fairer to blame her for the unlimited 
sway she held over those nearest to her. When 
aided by afiection, it is a law as irrevocable as 
the law of gravity, that the stronger shall gOAcrn 
the weaker mind. This principle has at all times 
been a source of irritation to common spectators 
unable to probe it to its spring ; and therefore, 
while some in ancient times called it Witch- 
craft, and others later on have stigmatized it as 
" a domineering spirit,^' " an overbearing will, 
&c.,^^ the simple truth has nearly always been 
overlooked, that it is not for the power, but the 
use of the power, that the possessor is responsi- 
ble. Happy is that weak mortal who can repose 
his frailty in the strength of a high and generous 
spirit, which, by using its heaven-born influence, 
shall preserve its friend from the infections of a 
thousand meaner minds. Only when this gift — 
inseparable as the personal presence — ^is perverted 
and made a tool of evil, can it be justly assailed. 
And how the widow of Cavendish used it, we 
shall presently see. 

Four years had not passed since the death of 
" her dear and well-beloved," when a third lover. 

26 Life and Letters of [1519-74. 

if possible more ardent and devoted than the 
former two^ laid himself at her feet. This was 
Sir William Saintlow, the handsome Captain of 
the Guard to Queen Elizabeth, and Grand 
Butler of England, the possessor of ^^ divers fair 
lordships in Gloucestershire/^ and, to the annoy- 
ance of Bess, sundry encumbrances in the shape 
of daughters by a former wife. Bess was quite 
at home in the matter of marriage settlements, 
and before she would consent to bestow her hand 
on the enamoured knight, she demanded that the 
whole of the ^^ fair lordships^^ in Gloucestershire 
should be settled, in default of issue by her third 
marriage, on herself and children by Sir William 
Cavendish, to the entire exclusion of the just 
claimants — the eldest daughters of Sir William 
Saintlow.* Base as was this demand on her 
part, she yet thought of her, offspring, and it is 
with still greater contempt that we read that, 
rather than give her up, the knight yielded, and 
disinheriting and forsaking his own children for 
the Delilah, he conferred on her the title of 
Lady Saintlow. Whether his children inherited 
his own baseness of spirit, or whether, brought 
in such close contact, they, like others, were 
compelled to yield to the immutable law, 
we cannot say. Certain it is that the insulted 

* CoUins' "Noble Families." 


^519-74-] Lady Arabella Stuart 27 

daughters of Saintlow maintained the most 
friendly intercourse with their step-mother, 
accepted her patronage in lieu of their rights, 
and lived in harmony with the Cavendish chil- 
dren, for whose sake they had been despoiled. 
But Death, at least, was jealous, and after a short 
union, Saintlow died, leaving Bess sole heiress of 
all his property, and leaving no children by his 
last marriage, his rich estates joined those of 
Barlow and Cavendish, and descended to the 
heirs of Bess. 

It might now be fairly supposed that Bess had 
received her full measure at the hand of Fortune, 
or that the knowledge of the contract concerning 
Sir William Saintlow^s estates, as well as her 
mature age — ^for she was now fifty — would have 
cooled her admirers as well as diminished her 
fascinations. Nothing of the kind. " In this 
third widowhood she had not survived her charms 
of wit and beauty,'^ and by far the greatest con- 
quest was to come. During the lives of her 
former husbands, she had turned her wealth to 
great account — had taken her place at Court, 
and, as we have seen at the christening-parties 
of her children, had established herself on inti- 
mate terms with the noblest families of the king- 
dom. At one of those famous christening-parties 
came the greatest and most trusted of the nobles 

28 Life and Letters of [1519-74. 

of England — George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury. 
Since then, he had probably kept up a friendly- 
intercourse with Bess, the nearness of his castle 
at Sheffield making him a frequent neighbour, 
and, like all the men around her, he was struck 
with her wondrous energy and skill in manage- 
ment. She did not indulge the '^ luxury of 
grief,^^ but solaced her widowhood with the sound 
of the hammer and the saw, with farming, buying 
and selling estates, transacting business in lead, 
coals, and timber,* and astonishing the spectators 
with the ^^byldinges^^ — ^the object of ^^my workes,'' 
as she herself styles them. 

Earl George was the first Protestant of the 
house of Talbot ; his wealth was great, his con- 
nexions among the highest in the land, but, like 
Saintlow, he was burdened with ^ family. Yet 
the voice of the syren had but to sound, and his 
wife, having been dead a year, he laid himself 
and all his unentailed possessions at the feet of 
Bess. Fortunately, he had sons as well as 
daughters, and Bess saw that it would be impos- 
sible to secure so clear a bargain as she had 
driven with the infatuated Saintlow. So she 
took a middle and prudent course. She declared 
that, in addition to a splendid jointure settled on 
herself, it was necessary that her eldest son, 

* Lodge, i* 


^5^9*74-] Lady Arabella Stuart 29 

Henry Cavendish, should espouse the EarFs 
daughter, Grace, and her youngest daughter, 
Mary, be joined to Gilbert, the heir of Earl 
George, thus irrevocably linking the fortunes of 
the two houses of Cavendish and Talbot, and 
afiTording the best prospects of high connexions 
for such of her children as were still undisposed 
of. The Earl consented to all these arrange- 
ments, and the fourth marriage of the uncon- 
querable Bess was celebrated with as much pomp 
and affection — at least, on the part of the bride- 
groom — as if Bess were still the blooming girl 
who, at the age of fourteen, had bewitched the 
heart of Robert Barlow. Even Queen Elizabeth, 
so usually jealous of the marriage of her nobles, 
signified her approbation, and declared that, 
" glad as she had been to see Mistress Saintlow, 
she should be still more rejoiced to see my Lady 
of Shrewsbury/' Time passed on, and, as yet. 
Earl George was not behind his predecessors in 
his devotion to his wonderful Bess. Still, ^^ of 
all earthly joys that had happened unto him, he 
thanked God chiefest for her.''* Even yet her 
cup of honour was not full. On the 17th of 
May, 1568, Mary, Queen of Scots, landed in 
England — a refugee from her country. It is 
here no place to discuss the question of her im- 

* Letter of the Earl of Shrewsbury.— Hunter's "Sheffield." 

30 Life and Letters of [i574- 

prisonment, or the vengeance which the mother 
of Darnley had implored Elizabeth to take. 
SuflSce it to say that the Queen of Scots was 
placed in charge of the Earl of Shrewsbury, with 
strict orders that none save his wife and himself 
were to hold intercourse with her, and Bess 
became the gaoler of a queen. And it was while 
this queen was in her custody that the aged 
mother of the murdered Darnley was travelling 
to the north, in search of a wife for her son 
Charles, that Bess, who had a charming unmar- 
ried daughter, hearing of the journey, and that 
the royal travellers would pass near her house at 
Ruflford, made such royal preparations, and 
offered such princely hospitality, that, as the 
Countess of Lennox said, for very courtesy sake 
they must needs accept it, and rest awhile with 
the Countess of Shrewsbury. 

Bess was well rewarded for her hospitaUty. 
Not many days elapsed before Charles Stuart 
was captivated by the charms of Elizabeth Caven- 
dish, who, though lately disappointed in love, 
like her mother, was open to consolation. Very 
scanty glimpses are afforded of her, but the few 
that remain seem to give the idea of a gentle, 
affectionate girl, entirely imder the sway of her 
mother, to whom, unlike her sister Mary, the 
wife of Gilbert Talbot, she seems to have borne 

I574-] Lady Arabella Stuart 31 

no resemblance in the sterner parts of her 

The Earl of Shrewsbury, writing to Lord 
Bxirleigh at this time, gives a comical account of 
tlie state of affairs : — 

" The Lady Lennox, being as I heard sickly, 
rested her at Rufford five days, and kept most 
her bedchamber. And in that time the young 
man her son fell into Uking with my wife^s 
daughter before intended, and such liking was 
between them as my wife tells me she makes no 
doubt of a match, and hath so tied themselves 
upon their own liking as cannot part. My wife 
hath sent him to my lady, and the young man 
is so far in love that belike he is sick without 
her. This taking effect, I shall be well at quiet, 
for there is few noblemen^s sons in England that 
she hath not prayed me to deal for at one time 
or other, for my Lord Wharton and sundry 
others. And now this comes unlooked-for with- 
out thanks to me.'^* 

* This letter is printed in Howard's Collection, who 
refers it to the Cotton MSS., Cal. C. 3. I have examined this 
MS., but the letter is not to be found ; nor have I succeeded 
in obtaining the original. It bears, however, such internal 
marks of authenticity that I have not hesitated to use it. 
The mutilated transcript will be well understood by those 
unhappy readers who have sought to decipher the hand- 
writing and spelling of the noble George of Shrewsbury. — E.O. 

32 Life and Letters of ' [1574. 

Bess did not let matters wait till they should 
reach the ear of the Queen, who would be certain 
to forbid such a match, and the marriage was 
solemnized during the visit of Charles and his 
mother. No objection seems to have been made 
by the Countess of Lennox. She had suflFered 
enough by the marriage of her eldest son to 
reconcile her to a lowlier alliance for Charles ; 
nor was it likely that the only son of the 
widow would find his happiness thwarted by 
the mother whose hopes rested on him alone. 
Margaret had found no happiness from her royal 
blood, and possibly she saw a vista of peace in 
the unambitious hopes of Charles. Without 
doubt, too, Bess used all her charms and fasci- 
nations, and convinced the noble visitors that 
happiness, at least, was to be found in her 

But peace was soon at an end. When the 
news of the marriage arrived at Court, Queen 
Elizabeth instantly summoned Margaret and 
her son from the north, uttering threats of im- 
prisonment in the Tower to all concerned in the 
marriage. The Earl of Shrewsbury, declaring 
that the marriage was ^^ dealt in suddenly^' and 
without his knowledge, and being besides ne- 
cessary as keeper to Mary, Queen of Scots, was 
allowed to remain ; but Bess began to find her 


1574.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 33 

specnlation threaten dangers ; and, with the rest, 
she also was summoned to London. The dismal 
bridal-party travelled by slow and painful jour- 
neys on horseback in the depth of winter, over 
bad roads, and at last arrived trembling at the 
end of their journey. Where Bess remained is 
not mentioned, probably she accompanied the 
other three to Hackney, the residence of Mar- 
garet. At first, the royal command went no 
farther than forbidding the culprits to stir from 
their place of abode, and to speak to any save those 
whom the Privy Council allowed to listen. But 
sterner orders followed, and a few days after 
Christmas, the two mothers, Margaret and Bess, 
were lodged in the Tower. The sensation of im- 
prisonment was unpleasant to Bess, who, however, 
controlled herself, and submitted with a good grace. 
But Margaret gave utterance to her feelings, and 
said : " Thrice have I been cast into prison, not 
for matters of treason, but for love matters. 
First, when Thomas Howard, son to Thomas first 
Duke of Norfolk, was in love with myself; then 
for the love of Henry Damley, my son, to Queen 
Mary of Scotland; and, lastly, for the love of 
Charles, my younger son, to Elizabeth Caven- 

The Earl of Shrewsbury wrote anxious letters 
in behalf both of his wife and Margaret. 

VOL. I. D 

34 Life and Letters of [i574- 

Leicester, Burgliley, and tlie Queen herself were 
addressed by him. He declared that Bess had 
no intent but that of " reverent dutie/' and that 
the Lady Lennox had conducted herself in all 
respects as a loyal subject.* His words may 
have had some effect. A commission was granted 
by the Queen to the Earl of Huntingdon to hold 
a court and examine Fowler and all the servants 
of Margaret concerning the marriage. The trial 
proceeded slowly, but eventually was decided in 
favour of the prisoners, and both were released. 
But meantime, Elizabeth, the young Countess 
of Lennox, had become the mother of a daughter, 
the heiress of the house of Lennox, and known 
in history as Arabella Stuart. 

* Lodge, iii. 

^575-] Lady Arabella Stuart 35 



She precise date of the birth of Arabella 
Stuart has long been a matter of un- 
certainty. The most reliable authorities 
have believed it to have been somewhere in the 
year 1575. This is placed beyond all doubt by the 
following extract from a letter of Margaret, 
Countess of Lennox, to Mary, Queen of Scots. 
The letter is written from Hackney, where the 
young Countess was staying with her mother-in- 
law, and is endorsed November 10, 1575 : — 

^^ And now must I yield your Majesty most 
humble thanks for your good remembrance and 
bounty to our little daughter here, who some 
day may serve your highness. Almighty God 
grant unto your Majesty an happy Ufe. — Hackney, 
this 10th of November. 

^^Your Majesty^s most humble and loving 
mother and aunt, 

* State Papers, Mary, Queen of Scots, x. Printed in Miss 
Strickland's " Queens of Scotland." 

D 2 

86 Life and Letters of [}57S' 

To this letter is added a postscript by Eliza- 
beth Lennox, which is here given as one of the 
few remains of the mother of Arabella Stuart : — 

^^ I most humbly thank your Majesty that it 
pleased your highness to remember me your poor 
servant, both with a token and in my lady^s 
gracious letter, which is not little to my comfort. 
I can but wish and pray God for your Majesty^s 
long and happy estate tUl time I may do your 
Majesty better service, which I think long to do, 
and shall always be as ready thereto as any servant 
your Majesty hath, according as by duty I am 
bound. I beseech your highness pardon these 
rude lines, and accept the good heart of the 
writer, who loves and honours your Majesty un- 

^^ Your Majesty's most humble and lowly 
servant during life, 

" E. Lennox/' 

In addition to the letter of Margaret may be 
added another testimony from the Harleian 
Manuscripts.* Amongst a curious collection of 
pedigrees, entitled " Genealogia Regum AngluB, 
1582,^' is given that of Margaret Douglas and 
her posterity. Of Darnley is it said, '^ Occisus 

* Harl.MSS.>fol.588. 


^375'] Lady Arabella Stuart. 37 

est in Scotid a Comite Bodel, ex imidtis, ob catisam 
Davidis Italici, a Secretis Regina,^' By this stands 
" Caroltis Stuard, natus 1548, Comes Lenox, 
AngluSy duxit filiam Gulielmi Candish Militia in 
Anglia de Chatsworth/^ After Charles comes 
"Arbella, nata 1575 apud Chatsu/^ in Anglia J' 
It is remarkable that in both places the word 
Chatsworth is written in diflferent ink^ having 
evidently been added afterwards when the desired 
information was obtained. At another part of 
the volume is an extract of the Scotch pedigrees, 
written in the last-mentioned ink. And here 
we find " Arbella nata 1575 apud Cat worth in 
Anglia/' without hesitation. Many wrong dates 
occur in these pedigrees, but that relating to 
Arabella so entirely agrees with other circum- 
stances that it may safely be relied on. The 
care evidently taken concerning her birthplace, 
renders the information given worthy of trust. 

The baptism of Arabella was, in all probability, 
celebrated at the parish church of Edensor, ac- 
cording to the custom of the day, which enjoined 
the highest in rank to be baptised in the parish 
church, the castle chapel being considered too 
private for so important a ceremony, except when 
the sickliness of the infant rendered 9' removal 
dangerous, or when the delay of an hour might 
peril the salvation of the stranger. In such im- 

88 Lije and Letters of \}575' 

minent danger^ the nurse received a license from 
the bishop to perform the ceremony herself. 

In the case of Arabella, there was happily nd 
need of such a departure from the ordinary 
course, and we may be sure that Bess left out 
none of the observances due to the royal rank of 
her little grandchild. On all such occasions, the 
whole of the family, with the visitors, went in 
procession to the church, where, on arriving at 
the porch, they were met by the clergyman, and a 
short prayer being oflTered, the child was named. 
It was then carried to the font, which stood 
under a canopy in the middle of the church. 
The water in the font was consecrated, and, being 
covered up to keep it from pollution, it was not 
deemed necessary to change it for every cere- 
mony, but the waste was gradually supplied, and 
a regular consecration every month was deemed 
sufficient to keep it in holy order. On arriving 
at the font, a prayer was offered to Jesus Christ, 
beseeching Him to send down the Holy Spirit 
to sanctify the fountain of baptism, even as the 
Holy Spirit had descended in the form of a dove 
in times of old on His divine person. Till the 
time of Elizabeth, the custom was to dip the 
child in the water thrice ; first on the right side, 
then on the left, and lastly, with its face into the 
font, the three immersions being supposed to 


^575-] Lady Arabella Stuart 39 

represent the Trinity. But in the reign of Eliza- 
beth immersion was superseded by sprinkling — 
a change brought by the returned exiles from 
Geneva, and it was probably in this manner that 
Arabella received the first sacrament. Imme- 
diately after the baptism, the sponsors placed 
their hands on the chUd, and the minister cover- 
ing it with a white vestment called the chrysome, 
said, " Take this white vestment as a token of 
the innocency which, by God's grace, in this 
holy sacrament of baptism, is given unto thee, 
and for a sign, whereby thou art admonished, so 
long as thou livest, to give thyself to innocence 
of living, that, after this transitory life, thou 
mayest be a partaker of the life everlasting.'^ The 
child was next anointed (a relic of the Catholic 
service), and the sponsors offered their gifts — 
generally articles in gold or silver; refresh- 
ments were then brought into the church, con- 
sisting of wafers, comfits, and hippocras, a rich 
spiced wine (another relic of the old monks), and 
the company having freely partaken, the proces- 
sion re-formed, and the presents of the sponsors 
being carried before the child, the company re- 
turned to the hall or castle, where the day was 
concluded in feasting and festivity. Of the 
sponsors of Arabella, the only ones whose names 
I have been able to discover, are her uncle, Wil- 

40 Life and Letters of [}S77^ 

liam Cavendish, and her aunt, Mary, the wife 
of Gilbert Talbot, though she probably had many 
more, sponsors being quite unlimited at that time. 

From the first year of her existence, a cloud 
seemed to settle over the devoted head of Ara- 
bella. The royal frown was scarcely withdrawn 
frpm her two grandmothers, before a still darker 
shadow fell over her father. Consumption fastened 
slowly upon him, and in the beginning of the year 
1577, he sank into an early grave, leaving behind 
him a young widow and a child of two years 
old, bereft, indeed, of their natural protector, 
but, as might be supposed, surrounded by rela- 
tions and connexions too powerful to leave cause 
to fear any other consequences than those arising 
from natural affection and grief. It proved far 

The age in which the lot of Arabella Stuart 
was cast was one in which might almost in- 
variably conquered right ; it was an age when, 
though Parliament might resist encroachments 
on the public welfare on a large scale, and the 
Queen could trust herself without guards in 
the midst of a worshipping people, yet indi- 
vidual liberty and personal claims stood on very 
frail grounds indeed. Men rode to battle like 
lions against a foreign foe in fields where re- 
nown and honours were to be openly awarded ; 

1577'] Lady Arabella Stuart 41 

Taut they could be very quiet in other matters at 
home, that were utterly opposed to all law and 
justice, and needed bold speaking rather than 
sharp swords. Tournaments still existed, but chi- 
valry was a mere name. No distressed damsel 
found a knight-errant then. All Englishmen were 
ready to dare anything for the Queen; none 
would openly brave her anger, or plead a cause 
against her. 

The death of Charles Lennox plunged his 
whole family into poverty. The estates settled 
by Henry VIII. on the father and mother of 
Charles and their heirs, were now seized and 
sequestered by Queen Elizabeth, and Arabella was 
thus deprived of her English possessions. The 
Scotch estates would have been a sufficient heri- 
tage to maintain her as a princess, and to these 
estates she had an undoubted right. The earl- 
dom of Lennox had, in 1572, been conferred by 
James VI. on Charles Stuart and his heirs, 
without reservation or condition. The gift was 
sanctioned by the Earl of Mar, then Regent, and 
by an Act of Parliament confirming it in every 

This claim was now immediately asserted by the 
relations of Arabella. Her grandmother Lennox 
wrote to Lord Ruthven,* to know if the child^s 

* State Papers, Scotch Series, vol. zzviii. fol. 3. MS. 


42 Life and Letters of \}Sn^ 

title was to be acknowledged^ and a petition 
was presented to the Earl of Mar, to grant the 
wardship of the lands of Lennox to the countess. 
The petition was bluntly refused, and the title of 
Arabella questioned. It was in vain that the 
just plea was urged, that the title had been 
granted to Charles and his heirs for ever by the 
King, and confirmed by the Regent, and the whole 
state of Scotland by Act of Parliament. 

The Regent answered that '' the admission of 
the Lady Arabella to the earldom of Lennox, 
although there were no other doubt, could not 
now be accomplished, for that by the death 
of her father, the earldom falleth into the 
King's hands by reason of ward, and cannot be 
admitted before eighteen years of age, an& that 
he had rather the King should make choice whom 
of his so near kinsfolks he would prefer.^' * To 
this the Regent added the cheering words, that 
'' the same gift of the earldom, made by the Earl 
of Mar, then Regent, under the great seal of 
Scotland, and also by Act of Parliament, may 
by the King be revoked at any time, either 
within age or at ftill age.'' 

James had already, declared his intention of 
'' revoking " the gift, and of making a present 
of the inheritance of Arabella to his favourite 

♦ Harl. MSS. 289, fol. 201. 


^577*] Lady Arabella Stuart. 43 

and cousin, Esme Stuart, Lord D^Aubigny, pro- 
posing, however, to compromise matters by 
marrying Arabella to the new possessor. But 
as Arabella was only two years old, and as it 
was certain that Queen Elizabeth would refuse 
her consent to such a betrothal, the recompense 
was justly regarded as a farce, while the ^ >bbery, 
for it cjln be called nothing else, was an immi- 
nent fact. The earldom of Angus and the dower 
lands settled by Mathew, Earl of Lennox, on 
his wife, had been confiscated, and thus she and 
her little granddaughter were left absolutely pen- 
niless, so far as the claims of Lennox were con- 
cerned. One hope remained, — ^the Earl of 
Leicester was one of the most fervent admirers 
of Bess of Hardwick. He spoke in raptures of 
her ^^ noble and wise government of herself at 
Courte '/^* and having experienced her hospitality 
at Buxton and Chatsworth, had given so glow- 
ing an account of it, that Queen Elizabeth her- 
self had written to thank the Earl of Shrewsbury 
for the entertainment of her favourite. To him, 
therefore, the widowed Elizabeth Stuart now 
wrote, beseeching him to intercede with Queen 
Elizabeth to use her powerful influence in behalf 
of Arabella. 

Leicester, however, was cautious. He thought 

* Lodge, ii. p. 149. 


44 Life and Letters of ['577- 

the present time not propitious, as will be seen 
by the following extract from a letter of Gilbert 
Talbot to the Earl and Countess of Shrewsbury : 

" I shewed the letter of my lady of Lennox, 
your daughter, to my Lord of Leicester, who 
said he thought it far better for him to defer her 
suits to her Majesty till his own coming to the 
Court than otherwise to write to her before ; for 
that he thinketh her Majesty will suppose his 
letter, if he should write, were but at your lady- 
ship's request, and so by another letter would 
straight answer it again, and so it do no good. But 
at his meeting your lady, he will, he saith, ad- 
vise in what sort your lordship shall write to the i 
Queen's Majesty, which he will carry unto her, 
and then be as earnest a solicitor therein as ever 
he was for anything in his life, and he doubteth 
npt to prevail to your lordship's contentation."* 

Thus this important matter was left undecided "j 

for some time, and the young widow, with her 
jchild, was left dependent on her own family, and ^i 

compelled to feel that her alliance with royal 
blood had been barren enough as far as wealth 
and magnificence were concerned. \ 

It was at this time that the first portrait of 
Arabella was taken, which may stiQ be seen ^ 

in the picture-gallery at Hardwick Hall.*^ The j 

* Hunter's "Sheffield.*^ 


1577.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 45 

face is infantine, but highly intelligent, and the 
portrait possesses a pathos that, despite the 
outrageous costume of the subject, inspires the 
gazer with interest, even without the knowledge 
of her history. False red hair, drawn over rolls, 
in the French fashion of the present day; a 
figured brocade cap of a fashion becoming a 
woman of sixty, fastened round her head by a 
band of gold and gems; a brocade dress, em- 
broidered with pink flowers and green leaves, and 
made high at the neck, covered with a cape-like 
collar of the same material; immense sleeves, 
fastened round the wrists with bracelets, a chain 
twisted several times round the neck, and sus- 
taining a jewel, with a device, representing a 
scroll encircling a heart, surmounted with a 
coronet, and bearing the motto, '' POUR PAR- 
VENIR J'ENDURE,''— all these deform the 
little being, whose innocent face presents a 
ludicrous contrast to her dress, the only thing 
in character with her age being a sour-looking 
doU, dressed in Elizabethan costume, which 
Arabella clutches in her hand. 

We may be sure that no watchftJness was 
spared to bring her safely over the first perilous 
years of infancy, but that she reaped the full 
benefit of such physical knowledge as was granted 
to her day. The importance of diet and exercise 

46 Life and Letters of [1577. 

was at least understood^ and the attention paid 
to them no doubt helped to enable the patients 
to survive the remarkable medicines which were 
largely administered at the first symptom of 
illness. Simple food was considered necessary 
for children, weak ale, however, holding a place 
that would be supplied in our days by milk among 
the more harmless fish, eggs, and beef that con- 
stituted the usual diet of the nursery.* As 
soon as the child could speak plainly and be made ^ 

to understand, its education commenced, and by 
the age of five some progress was expected, even 
in a foreign language, the rod being unsparingly 
used to enforce application, while amusement 
was afforded by a few rough toys, such as a ^ 

pampered child of the present day would scorn to / 

touch. The juvenile books, which form so de- ^ 

lightfiil a part of our present literature, were totally 
unknown, and, consequently, if a child really had a 
hunger for books, it was obliged to satisfy it with * 

works written for adults, and hence the early / 

familiarity with much that was gross and revolting 1 

which so largely contributed to the general license 
of speech and manners. 

Arabella passed her first years in Derbyshire, I 

* The first governess of Queen Elizabeth complains of her r^ 

wanting to eat the rich dishes of the older people. — See 
EUis's" Letters.** 



'1577.] Lady Arabella Stuart 47 

Tinder tlie care of her mother and grandmother 
of Shrewsbury, and was probably, at times, ad- 
mitted into the presence of her unfortunate aunt, 
Mary, Queen of Scots, who, bereft of her only 
child, and seeking to divert her miserable cap- 
tivity with needlework and the rearing of fowls, 
would be likely to receive gladly the far more 
cheering solace afforded by the prattle of an 
engaging little girl, and one so nearly related to 

\ her. It is quite certain that she manifested a 

kindly interest in the orphan daughter of her 

j husband^s house.* 

In her will, dated 1577, Mary leaves her 

' crown of Scotland and right of succession to 

L Queen Elizabeth, to Charles Lennox or Claude 

Hamilton, whichever shall serve her most faith- 
fully and be most constant in religion, should her 
son James persist in his heresy.f Before the 
will was completed, Mary heard of the death of 
Charles Lennox. Her prompt acknowledgment 
of the survivor^s claims offers a marked contrast 
to the conduct of her son. In the same will, 
she orders that the Countess Margaret shall be 
reinstated in the earldom of Angus, and that 
Arabella shall take possession of her inheritance 
of the earldom of Lennox, and expressly orders 

* State Papers, Mary, Queen of Scots, x. fol. 71, MS. 
t Letters of Mary, Queen of Scots. 



48 Life and Letters of [1578. 

James, as her heir and successor, to fulfil her 
behest with regard to Arabella.* 

But neither James nor the Regent was dis- 
posed to obey, and on the 10th of March, 1578,t 
the cause of Arabella was stiU further weakened 
by the death of her grandmother, Margaret, 
Countess of Lennox. This daughter of Queen 
Margaret, despoiled both of her inheritance and 
her dower, died so poor that she did not leave 
sufficient to defray the expenses of her funeral 
in a manner becoming her rank. Queen Eliza- 
beth, therefore, for the credit of the royal house, 
/ undertook the charge of her funeral, and ordered 

her to be buried magnificently in Westminster 
Abbey, where the pompous inscription on her 
monument vainly seeks to hide the poverty, de- 
pendence, and misfortunes of her life. 

To Arabella she left some jewels, to be given 
to her if she lived to be fourteen, and, in case 
of her death before that age, they were to be- 
come the property of her cousin James of Scot- 
land. Thomas Fowler, the servant of Margaret, 
was appointed sole executor, and to him Mary, 
Queen of Scots, gave a warrant to transfer the 
jewels to the custody of Bess of Shrewsbury, 
till Arabella should have attained the above- 

* Labanoff: Letters of Mary, Queen of Scots. 
f See the inscription on the monument of Lady Lennox. 

1578.] Lady Arabella Stuart 49 

named age. The following is the list of the 
jewels : — 

'' My Lady Margaret's Grace cominitted her 
casket with jewels into the hands of Mr. Thomas 
Fowler, to be delivered to the Lady Arabella at 
the age of fourteen.* 

1. A jewel set with a fair table diamond, a 
table ruby, and an emerald with a fair great 

2. A cross all set with fair table diamonds, 
^ with a square linked chain. 

3. A jewel set with a ballast, and a fair table 
I diamond set beneath it. 

4. A H of gold set with rock ruby. 

5. A burrish set with a fair diamond. 

6. A rose set with fair diamonds. 

7. A carcanet set with table diamonds. 
* 8. A girdle set with table diamonds. 

9. A border set with table diamonds. 

10. A border set with table rubies. 

11. A border set with rock emeralds. 

12. A table, the head of gold set with 

13. A fair pearl chain. 

14. A chain set with rock rubies, pillar-wise. 

L 15. A chain of small turquoise set upon a 

three square pillar. 

* State Papers, Eliz., Dom., ccxxxi., fol. 99, MS. 
\ VOL. I. E 

50 Life and Letters of [1578. 

16. A clock set in crystal, with a wolf of gold 
upon it. 

17. Buttons of rock rubies to set a gown. 

18. Table diamonds to set upon sleeves. 

19. Two tablets of gold, the one with two 
agates, with divers small turquoises the other. 

20. Enamelled the form of a globe. 

21. Bracelets two pair; one of agate, and the 
other of plain gold, with other things that be 
not yet in memory.*^ 

James, however, showed a diflFerent disposition 
towards his cousin. While utterly regardless of 
and trampling on the claims of Arabella to the 
earldom of Lennox, he immediately began to 
besiege Queen Elizabeth to give up the lands 
conferred by Henry VIII. on his grandfather, 
Mathew, on his marriage with Margaret Douglas. 
That he had possession of all the Scotch lands 
conferred on his grandmother as a marriage 
settlement, and to which, in strict justice, Ara- 
bella also might be supposed to have some claim, 
he gave not a thought. In July, 1578, the 
Abbot of Dunfermline was despatched on an 
embassy to Queen Elizabeth,* his chief object 
being the prosecution of the claims of James to 
the '^ands and living here in England some- 
times appertaining to the Lord the Earl of 
* State Papers, xxvii., Scotch Series, MS. 

1578.] Xiady Arabella SiuarU 51 

Lennox and my Lady Margaret Ids wife, his 
Majesty's grandfather and grandmother, now 
falling to his highness through their decease, by 
just title of order and lawful succession/' The 
abbot then demanded, in the name of his master, 
to peruse the wiU of the late countess, and ex- 
amine her accounts, in order to see the net 
remains when all her debts were paid, and all 
moneys owing to her received. 

On the 28th of July, the abbot had an audience 
with the Queen and some of the CouncU, and 
found, to his disgust, that '' diflSculties were 
made'' to grant his suit. The law that was always 
a bugbear and terror to James, viz., that no alien 
could inherit property in England, rose before 
him, and with this thought probably awoke his 
first feelings of jealousy and fear of his little 
cousin Arabella, who was equally related to the 
deceased countess, the granddaughter of Henry 
VII., from whom he claimed the succession to 
the English crown ; and her inferior title, as the 
child of a younger branch, waxed mighty and 
terrible when it was asserted that the child of the 
elder was an alien, while she was born on 
English soil. " Queen Elizabeth," says the abbot, 
" seeming to remit his suit in that behalf to the 
laws of England, by which some meant to debar 
him from his right through occasion of his birth in 

E 2 

52 Life and Letters of [1578. 

Scotland, I showed that as his highness un- 
donhtedly looked for more friendly dealings at 
the hands of the Queen, to whom he is so dear, 
although his rights and interests were far more 
slender than it is, so doubted he not but whaU 
soever default and lack of rigour of law may appear 
through the place of his birth, her highness, in 
consideration of the nearness of their blood, by her 
amity would supply it, enabling him to succeed 
to the same land and livings, the pretence of his 
foreign birth notwithstanding,^^ and thus '^ might 
she well supply that v)hich seemeth to lack by her 
special favour,"* 

The abbot could obtain nothing but that, 
besides other reasons, the lands were now in 
ward, and the Queen could not show favour in 
this case without touching others whom it might 
offend, and that her majesty would only grant 
that, the lands being sequestered, the profits 
should be employed in paying a guard for the 
King^s person during the period of sequestration. 

Those on whose account the Queen professed 
to hesitate, and whom she " feared to offend,'^ 
now presented their suit on behalf of Arabella,t 
alleging that, by the laws of England, Lord 
Charles was next heir to his mother, and his 

* State Papers, Scotch Series, xxvii. MS. 
t Ibid. xvii. Ibl. 51, MS. 

1578.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 53 

daughter next heir to him^ and that^ consequently^ 
such lands as were not entailed on heirs male 
were her right. But the cunning queen now in 
turn made use of James as a cause for refusing 
the suit of Arabella's friends^ " which she hath 
done upon regard of the King of Scots/' and, in 
order to be just, " her majesty hath requested 
the profit of that kind to go into the hands of the 
treasurer of England, master of the Ward, to be 
hereafter answered as he shall, by farther inqui- 
sition, find the same ought to come by the order 
of the laws of the realm, by which all land 
belonging to any subject ought to be ordered/' 
And thus the question of the lands was disposed 
of for the present, and both the grandchildren of 
Margaret Lennox were deprived of property to 
which Elizabeth admitted there were two evi- 
dences in the letters patent of King Henry 
and Queen Mary, then extant as records in the 
Chancery of London. 

The next question was the property left by the 
will of the countess, and which was answered in 
a manner equally unsatis&ctory to the legatees. 
"As to her testament, though she made one, 
yet she died in so great debt, and her goods so 
far unable to answer the same, as the Queen's 
Majesty of natural favour, pity, and honour to her 
cousin, did bestow the charges of all her funeral. 

54 Life and Letters of [1578. 

to the intent her goods might serve to pay her 
debts/^ To Arabella's friends the Queen de- 
clared that the late countess's creditors had claims 
as well as Arabella, and to James she said truly 
enough that she found it ^^ very strange that any 
disposition should be intended of the earldom to 
the prejudice of the young lady, the only daugh- 
ter and heir of Charles, late Thike of Lennox, who 
had that estate assined to him and hdrs gene- 
rally,^^ " For justice sake/' urged the Queen, 
^^ let the King know this, that by ignorance he 
be not counselled to do any wrong to an Infant, 
Lady, and one of the next cousins in blood, being 
the sole heir to the said last Earl of Lennox."* 

Thus Elizabeth, equivocating about the lands, 
and denying the existence of property under the 
will, fully ^acknowledged the title of Arabella to 
the earldom of Lennox. Burghley, the tried 
councillor, was of the same opinion, and it was 
on the occasion of his expressing it that he 
received the following letter from the mother of 
Arabella : — 

Elizabeth, Countess of Lennox, to Lord Burghley. 

"1 CAN but yield your lordship most hearty 
thanks for your contiaual goodness towards me 
and my little one, and especially for your lord- 

* State Papers, Scotch Series, xxvii. fol. 51, MS. 


1578.] Lady Arabella Stuart 55 

ship's late good dealing with the Scots Ambas- 
sador for my poor child's right, for which, as also 
sundry otherwise, we are for ever bound to your 
lordship, whom I beseech still to further that 
cause as to your lordship may seem best. 

^^ I can assure your lordship that the earldom 
of Lennox was granted by Act of Parliament to 
my lord my late husband, and the heirs of his 
body, so that they should offer great wrong in 
seeking to take it from Arbella, which I trust, 
by your lordship's good means, will be prevented, 
being of your mere goodness for justice sake so 
well disposed thereto. For all which your lord- 
ship's goodness, as I am bound, I rest in heart 
more thankful than I can anywise express. 

'^ I take my leave of your lordship, whom I 
pray God long to preserve. 

^^At Newgate Street, the 15th August, 1578. 
Your lordship's, as I am bounden, 

^^E. Lennox."* 

Every effort, however, was in vain. James 
was as rapacious about the earldom and lands of 
Lennox, in Scotland, as Elizabeth about the 
lands in England, for which, nevertheless, James 
kept up a ceaseless clamour till the Queen's death. 
Arabella was deprived of the earldom, which was 
•ElUs's "Letters." 

56 Life and Letters of [1581. 

first given to Robert, Earl of Caitlmess, who 
soon after resigned it into the King^s hands in 
favour of his favourite, Esme Stewart, Lord 
D^Aubigny, whom, in 1581, he created Duke of 

And thus was the hapless orphan stripped of 
all that could accrue to her from the lands of 
Mathew, of Charles, and the wiU of Margaret, 
and thrown on the bounty of her maternal 

Queen Elizabeth, however, a little moved at 
the forlorn condition of Arabella, consented to 
allow her mother £400 and Arabella £200 a 
year out of the sequestered lands of the Coimtess 
Margaret. The £400 to the young countess was 
dependent on the life of Arabella, and was to 
cease at her death, which led to a remonstrance 
on the part of the Earl of Shrewsbury, that it 
might, under all conditions, be continued during 
the sequestration of the property of Margaret. 
Earl George also presented the modest petition 
that, seeing how small a portion £600 a year 
was to maintain Arabella and her mother, with 
"that countenance appertaining to her degree 
and qualities,^' the countess might have, infann^ 
the possessions of the Lady Margaret towards 
their better maintenance, paying to the Queen 

• State Papers, Eeign of Eliz., Dom., xlv; MS. 

i58i2.] Lady Arabella Stuart 57 

the accustomed rent. As an inducement to this 
bargain^ he pointed out how much better care 
the Countess Elizabeth would take of the house 
and timber of the estate than any stranger to 
whom it could be let, and promised a bond and 
securities for the fulfilment of her part of the 

But the business schemes of the poor young 
countess were soon brought to a close. On the 
21st of January, 1582, after a short sickness, she 
followed her husband to the grave, and Arabella, 
at the age of seven, was left- bereft of both her 
parents. The following letters from Earl George 
give a pathetic account of the last hours of the 
gentlest and best beloved of all the daughters of 
Bess. The few glimpses we catch of her present 
her in an amiable light, and the afiection she in- 
spired in those around her adds to the interest 
chiefly awakened in her as the mother of Arabella 
Stuart: — 

The Earl of Shrewsbury to Lord Burghley.* 

^^ My very good Lords, — ^It hath pleased God 
to call to his mercy, out of this transitory world, , 
my daughter Lennox, this present Sunday, being 
the 21st of January, about three of the clock in 
the morning. 

* Lansdowne MSS. xxxiv. fol. 1. 

58 Life and Letters of [1582. 

" Both towards God and the world she made a 
most godly and good end, and was in most per- 
fect memory all the time of her sickness, even 
to this last hour. Sundry times did she make 
her most earnest and humble prayer to the 
Almighty for her Majesty^s most happy estate, 
and the long and prosperous continuance thereof, 
and, as one most infinitely bound to her high- 
ness, humbly and lowly beseeched her Majesty to 
have pity upon her poor orphan, Arabella Stuart, 
and, as at all times heretofore, both the mother 
and poor daughter was most infinitely bound to 
her Highness, so her assured trust was that her 
Majesty would continue the same accustomed 
goodness and bounty to her child she left ; and 
of this her suit and humble petition, my said 
daughter Lennox, by her last will and testament, 
requireth both your lordships (to whom she 
found and acknowledged herself always most 
bound), in her name, most lowly to make this 
humble petition to her Majesty, and to present 
with all humility unto her Majesty a poor remem- 
brance (delivered by my daughter's own hands), 
.which very shortly wiU be sent, with my daughter's 
humble prayer for her Highnesses most happy 
estate, and most lowly beseeching her Highness 
in such sort to accept thereof, as it pleased the 
Almighty to receive the poor widow's mite. 

158a.] Lady Arabella Stuart 59 

" My wife taketh my daughter Lennox's death 
so grievously that she neither doth nor can think 
of anything but of lamenting and weeping, 

" I thought it my part to signify to both your 
lordships in what sort God hath called her to his 
mercy, which I beseech you make known to her 
Majesty, and thus, with my very hearty com- 
mendations to both your good lordships, I cease. 

^^ Sheffield Manor, this 21st of January 


" Your lordship's assured, 

"G. Shrewsbury. 

" To the Right Honourahle my very good Lords, 
my Lord Burghlej, aiid my very good Lord and 
Cousin the Eai-1 of Leicester, of Her Majesty's 
Moat Honourable Privy Council." 

The Earl of Shrewsbury to Sir Francis WaUingham,^ 

'' Good Mr. Secretary, — It hath pleased God 
to call to his mercy my daughter Lennox out of 
this frail world, who departed the same this 
Sunday, about three of the clock in the morning, 
with a good and godly mind, to God and the 
world. Thus much have I signified to my very 
good and honourable friends, the Lord Treasurer 
and* my Lord of Leicester and Mr. Vice-Cham- 
berlain, and thought likewise to signify the 
same to you, to whom my daughter in her life, 
* State Papers, Eliz., Dom., clii. fol. 9, MS. 

60 Life and Lettei'S of [i58:z, 

and her infant^ the Lady Arabella Stuart, hath 
been very much bound. I pray you so now, like 
a good Mend, after her death, be you a mean 
to her Majesty to present my daughter Lennox's 
humble and lowly thanks to her Majesty, wit^i her 
prayer for the long and happy estate of her Majesty. 
And for her Majesty's goodness at all times ex- 
tended towards her and her poor orphan, who now 
is left altogether destitute, which might have 
greatly increased my daughter's grief if she had 
not had a most assured trust of her Majesty's most 
bountiful goodness and great compassion to all 
who stand in need of help and comfort. 

" The poor mother, my wife, takes my 
daughter's death so grievously, and so moumeth 
and lamenteth that she cannot think of aught 
but tears, and therefore the rather I thought 
good to signify thus much unto you, and request 
your favour in this sort. And so, with my very 
hearty commendations to you, I cease. 

'^From my Manor House at Sheffield, this 
Sunday, being the 21st of January. 
" Your assured loving friend, 

"G. Shbewsbury.'' 

Elizabeth Lennox was buried in the family 
vault of the Earls of Shrewsbury at Sheffield. 
The death of her mother left Arabella again 

158a.] Lady Arabella Stuart 61 

in a state of uncertainty regarding her income. 
The conduct of the Queen at the death of Charles 
Lennox had not been such as to inspire any great 
hopes in Arabella's favour, and new fears awoke 
concerning the continuance of the royal grant of 
six hundred a-year. 

Bess was resolved that her grandchild should 
be brought up in a manner becoming her royal 
blood, and was anxious that the necessity for 
this should be acknowledged by the Queen, 
and the allowance continued in order to pay 
the increasing expense of her education. 
For this purpose she wrote the following 

The Countess of Shrewsbury to Sir Francis 

"My Honorable Good Friend, — You under- 
stand by my lord's former letters how it hath 
pleased God to take from me my daughter Len- 
nox, to whose Divine Majesty I must submit 
myself and all mine as it pleaseth him to dispose 
of us. Your wonted favour and honorable 
dealings shewed to me, hath made me now resort 
unto you as to my approved good friend. My 
assured trust is that her Majesty of her ac- 
customed gracious goodness towards me will let 

• State Papers, Eliz., Dom., ii. fol. 13, MS. 

62 Life and Letters of [158a. 

the same portion it pleased her to bestow on my 
daughter Lennox and my jewel Arbella to go 
to the child for her better education and training 
up in all good virtue and learning, and so she 
may the sooner be ready to attend on her 
Majesty. The child now growing into more 
years shall stand in more need of more servants 
and teachers, I nothing doubt, but upon good 
mediation, her Majesty will think this portion 
little nought for the child. And thus, good 
Mr. Secretary, beseeching your accustomed 
friendly care to recommend this my suit and 
petition to her Majesty, and that you will give 
my son William Cavendish leave to attend 
on you from time to tim^ to know your 
good pleasure, I cfease'r-^Sheffield, the 28th of 
January. Your assured loving firiend, 

"E. Shrewsbury.^' 

The Countess of Shrewsbury to Sir Francis 

"Good Mr. Secretary, — With my right hearty 
commendations, I pray you take in good part 
my like desire that it will please you to prefer 
my humble suit unto the Queen's Majesty in the 
behalf of a poor infant, my jewel Arbella, who ^ 

is to depend wholly upon her Majesty's bounty 
♦ State Papers, Eliz., Dom., cliii. fol. 39, MS. 

ijSij.] Lady Arabella Stuart 63 

and goodness, being in her tender age deprived 
of her parents, whose late mother in her extreme 
sickness, and even at the approaching of her end 
(which I cannot without great grief remember), 
did most earnestly sundry times recommend to 
her Majesty's gracious goodness and favour that 
poor infant her only care, with hearty desire 
and confidence that her Majesty might enjoy a 
long and prosperous reign, and be a gracious 
patroii and sovereign to that her innocent child, 
as her Majesty hath hitherto been to them both, 
and for as much as the four hundred pounds 
yearly granted to my lady daughter is by her 
death at the Queen's Majesty's disposition, my 
humble suit is that her Highness, whose manifold 
gracious favours and bounty have so much bound 
me as no subject can be more to a most worthy 
sovereign, will vouchsafe to grant the same four 
himdred pounds to Arbella, for her maintenance 
during her minority, which is but for a few 
years, whereof I doubt not but her Majesty 
will favourably accept as hitherto she hath done 
of all my suits, and consider that her bringing 
up every way as appertaineth and so as she may 
be able the sooner in service to attend upon her 
Majesty (which I chiefly desire), will hardly be 
performed with six hundred pounds yearly in 
money, and more commodity is not to be made 

64 Life and Letters oj [158^2. 

of the lands, being as they are in lease. I do 
not like she should be now here as she was with 
her mother in her life-time, neither can I be 
contented she be in any place where I may 
not some time see her and daily ,hear of her 
well-doing, and therefore at great charges to 
keep her in house with such as are fit to attend 
upon her and be in her company, and being 
near well towards seven years old, she is of very 
great towardness to learn anything, and t very 
careful of her good education, as if she were 
my own and only child, and a great deal more 
for the consanguinity she is of to her Majesty, 
whose happy reign over us I daily with the most 
zealous mind pray the Almighty Governor of all 
things long to continue. And now craving most 
heartily your friendship in moving this suit to 
her Majesty, I refer the same to your wisdom, 
being better able to consider thereof than I am 
at this present, who cannot so soon enter into 
any thought of this cause but that I am over- 
charged with grief, and so make an end of this 
my inconsiderate letter, trusting her highness 
will accept of my loyal duty and service, which 
I desire you will commend unto her royal 
Majesty. — Sheffield, this 6th of May. 

^' Your loving friend, 

"E. Sheewsbury.'* 

1582.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 65 

Bess also besought Lord Burghley to intercede 
with the Queen to continue the whole grant of 
six hundred pounds, previously divided between 
mother and child, to be now continued to Ara- 
bella alone, on account of the increasing ex- 
penses of her education; and repeated that it 
was necessary that, though not always with her, 
stiU Arabella ought to be in some place where 
she could see her sometimes, and daily hear of 
her. Her care of Arabella, she repeated, was not 
only ^^ such as a natural mother hath of her best 
beloved child, but much greater, on account of 
her relationship to the Queen/' 

The appeal, was powerless. The £400 was 
withdrawn, and only £200 a-year, out of the 
sequestered property, was allowed to the rightful 

Arabella was now seven years old, quick at 
learning, and retentive of what she acquired. 
Sir Walter Mildmay, writing of her in 1588, 
declares her to be very pretty, and thinks that 
she will resemble her grandmother Lennox.* 
The quick-witted child made so pleasant an im- 
pression on Sir Walter, who was then on a visit 
to the Earl of Shrewsbury, charged with business 
concerning the Queen of Scots, that he begged 
her to write a letter to Queen Elizabeth. The 

* State Papers, Eliz.,Dom., MS. 
VOL. I. f 

66 Life and Letters of [1582. 

'^little lady/' as Mildmay calls her, willingly 
complied, desiring him to give her letter to the 
Queen, and say that ^^ her humble prayer is for 
her Majesty/' a message that Mildmay sent with 
the letter to Walsingham, begging him to give 
it to the Queen. 

The letter is no longer in existence, or has 
not been discovered, but if written undictated 
by the elders of the little scribe, there is little 
doubt that it was weU worth the perusal of 
Elizabeth, and bore the stamp of originality, 
which was one of the distinguishing features of 

Already the child was the subject of matri- 
monial speculations. The first serious project 
was formed by the Earl of Leicester, who, with 
the full approbation of Bess, designed to marry 
Arabella to his only son, the little Lord Denbigh. 
The children were told of this plan, and even their 
portraitis were sent to each other. The likeness 
of Arabella already described, with a doll in her 
hand, was probably the one sent to the little lord. 
The scheme, though managed with caution, got 
abroad, probably by means of Mauvissiere, who 
received the news from Mary, Queen of Scots,* 
by whom he was instructed to convey it to 

• Letters of Mary, Queen of Scots. 

1582.] Lady Arabella Stuart 67 

On the 4th of March, Lord Paget nrrites to the 
Earl of Northumberland : — ^^ A friend in office 
is verie desirous that the Queen should have light 
given her of the practice between Leycester and 
the Countess for Arbella, for it comes on very 
lustily, insomuch as the said earl hath sent down 
the picture of his babie/'* Lord Denbigh was the 
son of Lettice KnoUys, and, to judge by Leices- 
ter's letters, much beloved by his father, who 
soon felt the effects of his schemes for his son in 
the altered manner of the Queen and Court, f 
and a cloud gathered over him, which was only 
dispersed by the sudden illness and death of the 
little lord, "his only little son,^' as Leicester 
calls him. Lord Denbigh died in July, 1584, 
at Wanstead, at the age of three years. He 
lies buried in the Collegiate Church of Warwick, 
where the inscription on an altar monument near 
to that of his father declares that there " resteth 
the body of the noble imp, Robert Dudley, 
Baron of Denbigh, a child of great hope and to- 
wardness, taken firom this transitory life unto the 
everlasting life, and in this place laid up among 
his ancestors, in assured hope of the general 

♦ Unpublished Talbot Papers, 
f Mr. Davison to the Earl of Leicester. — State Papers, 
Scotch Series, 36, MS. 

F 2 

68 Life and Letters of [1582. 

Allusion is also made to Lord Denbigli in the 
doggerel libel on his father, published during his 
life, entitled ^^ Leicester's Ghost */' — 

" First I assayed Queene Elizabeth to wed. 
Whom divers princes courted, but in vaine ; 
When in the course unhtckily I sped, 
I sought the Scots* Queene's mariage to obtaine; 
But when I reapt no profit for my paine, 
I sought to match Denbigh, my tender childe. 
To Dame Arbella, but I was beguiled. 

** Even as Octavius with Marke Antony 
And Lepidus the Roman empire shared. 
That of the world these held the sovereignty. 
So I a new triumvirate prepared. 
If Death awhile yong Denbigh*8 life had spar'd. 
The grandame, uncle, and the father-in-law, 
Might thus have brought all England under awe/' 

The first plan of betrothal being thus com- 
pletely broken, Leicester soon regained the favour 
of the Queen, and Arabella continued her educa- 
tion and passed her life in the usual manner of 
a girl belonging to one of the highest families 
in the realm, with this exception, that, on account 
of her royal blood, she was frequently brought 
forward and permitted to share the company of 
her elders, where another would have been kept 
in the retirement suitable to her age. 

A glance at her home and occupations may 
aot be unacceptable to the reader. 

1584.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 69 



|HE reign of Queen Elizabeth was, among 
other things, marked also by a new style 
of architecture. The decreasing power of 
the nobles, and the closer drawing together of the 
higher and lower classes, were especially notable 
by the decay of the castles that for so many 
centuries had frowned over the land. New 
dwellings were built in which more attention was 
paid to beauty and comfort than to strength; 
and which, if less picturesque than the old 
castles, were also less suggestive of civil war and 
siege. Hardwick Hall, the greatest architec- 
tural triumph of Bess of Hardwick, affords one of 
the best examples of the latest habitations of the 
nobility in the reign of Elizabeth ; and though 
it was probably in the old Hall, or at Chatsworth, 
that Arabella passed most of her earliest child- 
hood, both of those as well as the castle of Shef- 
field being destroyed, it is from the present 
building that we shall obtain the nearest idea of 
her home. 

70 Life and Letters of [i5?4- 

Hardwick Hall is built of stone, and is of 
square shape, with turrets at the comers. Round 
the top runs a parapet of stone, in which the 
initials of Bess, " E. S.,'^ are wrought in various 
places. Lofty state apartments, lighted with nu- 
merous transom windows, and hung with gor- 
geous tapestry, still remain, as if awaiting the 
promised visit of Queen Elizabeth. The room 
of audience is sixty-four feet nine inches by 
thirty-three feet, and twenty-six feet four inches 
high. The walls are covered with magnificent 
tapestry, representing the story of Ulysses, and 
over this are figures in plaster representing Diana 
and her attendant nymphs. In a wide recess 
at one end stands a large bedstead, elaborately 
carved and adorned with heavy velvet hangings, 
thickly embroidered with gold. At the upper 
end of the room is a canopy of state, formed of 
rich black velvet embroidered with various figures 
of lords and ladies dressed in the costume of the 
time of Elizabeth, and surrounded with lesser 
details, as animals, shrubs, &c. ; and in the in- 
side are worked the arms of the founder of the 
house. Grold-embroidered velvet and satin- 
covered chairs, with carven frames, a costly table 
of inlaid wood, a splendid looking-glass in a carven 
frame, and a magnificent marble chimney-piece, 
complete the furniture of this noble apartment. 

1584-] Lady Arabella Stuart ?! 

Doors covered with tapestry softly open into a 
far more interesting scene. This is the picture- 
gallery, a hundred and seventy feet long, twenty- 
three feet wide, and twenty-six feet high. Ten 
immense diamond-paned windows light up the 
treasures within, and recall the saying, that 

Has more glass than wall." 

Here may be seen portraits from life of Queen 
Elizabeth, Lady Jane Grey, Sir Thomas More, 
Cardinal Pole, Bishop Gardiner, Lord Burghley, 
James I. as a child, Mary, Queen of Scots, 
the three last husbands of Bess : Sir William 
Cavendish, Sir William Saintlow, and George 
Earl of Shrewsbury. There, too, in a black dress 
and ruff and thick veil, her false red hair covered 
with a small black cap, and her neck adorned with 
a chain of pearls — ^in size and number " worth a 
king's ransom'^ — ^may be seen the indomitable 
Bess, her character well indicated in the ex- 
pression of her countenance. 

Like the audience-chamber, the gallery is 
adorned with a canopy of velvet, marble chimney- 
pieces, and chairs, stools, &c., covered with the 
richest embroidery. 

The rest of the house is in accordance with 
these rooms, and the amount of tapestry and 
embroidery bears witness to the skill and industry 

72 Life and Letters of [15841 

of the embroiderers, who formed a part of every 
nobleman^s household. 

Let us suppose a day at old Hardwick Hall 
during the early youth of Arabella Stuart. 

The bed-room of Arabella is lighted by a lofty 
window, looking out on the front garden of the 
Hall. The walls are covered with Gobelin 
tapestry, representing Cupids guiding a boat 
through the waters, and followed by attendants 
garlanded with ivy and oak, who accompany 
the little bark with the sounds of the trumpet 
and flute. On the marble chimney-piece rest 
two talbots supporting the shield of Shrewsbury, 
and round the room are ranged high-backed chairs 
covered with embroidery, with embroidered stools 
at their feet. At one end of the room is a 
Venetian looking-glass set in silver, and at the 
other a Flanders^ chest, and a cupboard of 
cypress-wood. On a beaufet stands a silver can- 
dlestick, and on a table, covered with an em- 
broidered cloth, lies a book — ^perhaps a volume 
of Plato. 

The bed is decked with white drapery, worked 
in crimson and green, hanging over a heavy 
carven frame, and by the side is a footstool 
adorned with needlework. The luxurious feather 
cushions and pillows are covered with snow- 
white linen and white woollen blankets, and 

1584.] Ladj Arabella Stuart. 78 

oyer all is a counterpane of white and crimson 


There, summoned by her tiring -maiden, who is 


" In petticoat of flannel red, 
And milk-white kerchief on her head 
Her smock-sleeves like to winter snow. 
That on the western mountains flow. 
And each sleeve with a silken band 
Fairly tied at the hand," 

Arabella rises, and, with the assistance of her 
tiring-maiden, performs her morning toilet. 

At seven o'clock her breakfast is served her in 
her bedchamber, and consists of half a loaf 
of household bread, a manchet or loaf of the 
finest flour, a quart of ale, a chicken or some 
broiled mutton bones. Of this substantial array, 
Arabella takes her portion, and the remainder is 
given to her chief servant. If it be a fish 
day, the mutton and chicken are replaced 
by a piece of salt stock-fish, a dish of sprats, 
or three fi-esh white herrings, and a dish of 

The breakfast over, the clanging tones' of a 
bell summon the household to prayers in the 
Hall chapel. A quarter of an hour is allowed to 
lock the great gates, and carry the forms and 
cushions to the chapel, when prayers are said by 
the chaplain, and the household then disperse to 

74 Life and Letters of [1584. 

their several duties for the day. The countess 
goes to superintend the maids, the earl to cast 
up accounts and give directions for the provision 
of his retainers, and see that his steward has 
obeyed all orders punctually; to survey his 
grounds and perform in person most of the work 
that is executed by a steward in these days. 
The young men exercise themselves in arms and 
athletic exercises in the tilt-yard, and Arabella, 
with her attendants, betakes herself to a separate 
apartment to pursue her studies. Languages 
form the chief — Latin being an especial object — 
but French, Italian, and Spanish are also taught 
her, grammatically and conversationally. She 
must get herself well up in the Greek Testa- 
ment, and study Plato in the original, as 
much for the philosophy as the language, for 
in that time ^^ great number of noble women 
in England were given to the studie of human 
sciences and of strange tongues. It was a com- 
mon thyng to see young virgins, so nbuzled and 
trained to the study of letters, that thei wyl- 
lyngly set aU other vain pastymes at naught 
for leamyng's sake. It was no news at all to see 
queens and ladies of most high estate and pro- 
:genie instede of courtly daliaunce to embrace 
virtuous exercises, readyng and writing, and with 
.most earnest studie both erlye and late, to apply 

1584-] Lady Arabella Stuart. 75 

themselves to the acquirynge of knowledge, as 
well as all other Hberal arts and disciplines^ as also 
most specially of God and his most holy writ/' 
Arabella's tutor in these things is a converted 
Roman Catholic priest, who receives probably 
ten pounds a-year and his board for teaching a 
princess of the blood royal, a sum whose mean- 
ness he trusts to be compensated in the shape 
of an annuity when Arabella's education shall 
be finished. Then come lessons on the lute 
and virginals, and, not the least important, spin- 
ning and embroidery ; and lastly, the pupil goes 
to the steward's region to learn ^' physick,'' 
surgery, confectionery, and "herbs" — ^the four 
last probably under the superintendence of her 
grandmother Bess. 

The morning passes rapidly, for every one in 
the household is busily engaged, and by eleven 
o'clock the dinner is ready in the great hall. 
The hall is the largest apartment in the house, 
for there it is that all daily meet. Heavy suits 
of armour hang round the walls, burnished corse- 
lets and gaping helmets, coats of mail, shields, 
lances, pikes, maces, halberds and muskets. A 
large gallery at the end is filled with musicians, who 
begin to tune the viol, sackbut, harp, and cornet. 
At another end is placed a magnificent side- 
board or beaufet of carven walnut-wood, laden 

76 Life and Letters of [1584. 

with gpld and silver vessels, and crystal goblets, 
adorned with jewels, and moulded in fantastic 
forms of birds and beasts. At the upper end of 
the hall is the oreille, a recess containing two 
tables, three more being placed in the centre of 
the hall. The tables are covered with " faire 
whyte naperie,'' and in the middle of each stands 
a huge salt-cellar, to divide the table according 
to the rank of the guests. In the oreUle, the 
plates are of silver ; but at the other tables, 
trenchers serve for their purpose, a white linen 
serviette beiag laid by each trencher and dish. 
In the oreille, high stools with cushions 
richly embroidered are placed at the tables, and 
in the body of the hall long forms of wainscot- 
wood are ranged. When all is ready, the great 
gates are shut, the bell is rung, and in procession 
the mighty household majestically enters the 
hall. Two maitres-dTiotel lead the way, followed 
by the host and hostess and the guests. The 
Earl of Shrewsbury in a black velvet doublet, 
ornamented with ruff and some costly jewels, 
velvet slips, silk stockings, and large rosettes on 
his shoes of Spanish leather, his face aged with 
anxiety and fretfulness, his peaked beard silvered 
more with care than years, leads by the hand the 
haughty Bess, whose keen, well-preserved face 
manifests but little sympathy with the sorrows 

1584.] Lady Arabella Stuart 77 

of her consort. Her dark dress of cramasie 
is close at the neck, the peaked bodice fits close 
to her form, and the sleeves fall gathered at the 
wrist. A fardingal distends the skirt, that, caught 
beneath the waist in a double fold, hangs over 
her high-heeled shoes ; rich jewels adorn her 
dress, and a lace ruff, starched by a pupil of Mrs. 
Dinghem Van Plasse, encircles her neck. Then 
follows Arabella, who, though the youngest of the 
party, takes precedence of all on account of her 
royal blood. She wears a white dress, edged 
with black, ornamented with jewels placed at 
intervals down the front, the bodice cut in the 
square German fashion of the present day, cover- 
ing her shoulders, but leaving her neck bare. 
The fiill sleeves are gathered in at the wrist, and 
turned back with a lace cuff. A pearl chain of 
great beauty and value is twisted many times 
round her neck, pearl bracelets clasp her wrists, 
a pearl drop hangs from her hair, and pearl pen- 
dants droop from her ears. Her hair of the 
prevailing auburn colour is raised high above her 
head, and falls in long crisped locks over her 
shoulders. Then come the Cavendishes, the 
children of Bess, and the Talbots, the descend- 
ants of Shrewsbury, and the noblest of the guests 
of the hospitable Hall. Perhaps Leicester, with 
his inanly beauty, and false, treacherous, cowardly 

78 Life and Letters of [1584. 

heart, has just been whispering contemptuous 
words of his infatuated mistress to the scornful 
Bess, whom he much more admires, and 
to whom he feels far more akin than to the 
Queen, for Bess, like himself, is wholly selfish 
and worldly, while Elizabeth has deep, romantic 
feelings, and a heart that in its worst moments 
has many noble sentiments and powers of self- 
sacrifice, albeit they sleep awhile. Or Sir Walter 
Mildmay admires the intelligence of the young 
Arabella, whom he has just reminded, playfully, 
of her childish letter to the Queen, written at his 
request, and receives a witty answer to his 
keenest joke. Or Robert Cecil ponders silently 
on all he has heard and seen, and speculates to 
himself on the political position of the grand- 
daughter of his hostess. 

All these proceed to the oreille and take their 
seats at the first table, and as soon as they are 
seated, the steward of the hall retires with the 
maitres-dTidtel, having first shown the guests to 
their seats. 

Then come the Knights and Honourable Gen- 
tlemen, who take their seats at the second table 
in the oreille. They are followed by the Steward, 
the Comptroller, the Secretary, the Master of the 
horse, the Master of the fish-ponds, Arabella's 
tutor, and all guests beneath the rank of Knight 

1584.] Lady Arabella Stitart 79 

and Honourable — and these take their places at 
the first table in the hall. 

Next come the Sewer, the Gentlemen Waiters, 
and Pages, who place themselves at the second 
table of the hall. 

Lastly, the procession closes with the Clerk of 
the Kitchen, the Yeomen Officers of the house, 
the Grooms of the Chamber, and the rest of the 
servants, all placed above or below the salt, 
according to their rank, and every one in his 
appointed place ; and " if any unworthy fellow do 
unmannerly sett himself down before his betters, 
he must be taken up and placed lower.^^ 

Silver ewers and basins with rose-water and 
perfumes are then handed round, and the guests 
having washed their hands and dried them on 
serviettes of perfumed damask, the usher enters, 
and his cry, " By your leave, my masters,^' is the 
signal for the first course. 

The musicians strike up ; and, amid the sound 
of sackbut, comet, violin, and recorders, are borne 
to the first table in the oreille the viands which 
have been cooked by a " musicall-headed French- 
man^^ and his subalterns. Mighty joints of beef, 
mutton, and veal, boiled and roast, are accom- 
panied by veal-pies, capons, blackcocks, chickens, 
plovers, partridges, with two diflPerent kinds of 
bread, the delicate marchpane and the coarser 

80 Life and Letters of [1584. 

cheate, and a few potatoes, for vegetables are 
almost unknown in England, and form no regular 
part of the bill of fare. The first in rank are 
served, and the dishes are then pasRed down in 
gradation to the lower tables, the last remains 
being reserved for the poor, who every day await 
this benevolence at the outer gate. The second 
course is ushered in in like manner, and is still 
more plentiful and luxurious — ^roast swans, veni- 
son, pheasants, pullets, snipes, teal, pigeons, and 
pastry. The third course is distinguished by the 
richness of the sweets ; jellies in the shape of 
animals, trees, houses, &x;., a ^^subtilty^' or 
elaborate piece of sugar-work representing, per- 
haps, a fortress in miniature ; ^^ tarts of divers 
hues and sundry denominations,'^ conserves of 
English and foreign fruiis, gingerbread, mar- 
malade, and comfits in endless variety. The 
beverages consist of ale and mead, and many 
kinds of wines of all countries served in silver 
tankards or fine Venetian glasses. The waiters 
at the earPs table are gentlemen of high birth, 
even the younger sons of noblemen, who are 
placed there to learn domestic customs, and all 
the intricate arrangements of a large household. 
Ushers, marshals, cupbearers, are all of rank, 
and without the perfect insight into domestic, 
manners that they thus practically obtain, they 


1584.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 81 

would be utterly at the mercy of their depen- 
dants^ and unable to maintain in order the 
hundred retainers that may hereafter eat and 
drink and be clothed at their expense^ when they 
themselves become the heads of families. 

Profound silence is observed during dinner, 
*^for it is the greatest part of civility/' save 
when some one arises^ and ^^ first uncovering his 
head, he takes a full cup in his hand, and setting 
his countenance with a grave aspect, he craves 
for audience. Silence being once obtained, he 
begins to breathe out the name, peradventure, of 
some honorable personage, whose health is drunk 
to, and he that pledges must likewise off with 
his cap, kiss his fingers, and bow himself in sign 
of a reverent acceptance. And thus the first 
scene is acted. The cup being newly replenished 
to the breadth of a hair, he that is the pledger 
must now begin his part, and thus it goes round 
throughout the whole company .^^ 

The banquet over, the guests again wash their 
hands in rose-water ; and, leaving the gentlemen 
to their wine, as in the present day, the ladies 
retire to amuse themselves with backgammon, 
cards, ninepins, bowls, and, undoubtedly, the 
scandal of Queen Elizabeth's Court. 

When the gentlemen have contented them- 
selves with wine well spiced, perhaps the whole 

VOL. I. o 

82 Life and Letters of [1584. ^ 

company go on a hawking or hunting expedition, 

or engage in a trial of skill at archery, or, if the ^ 

company be very numerous and of high rank, 

a bull or bear may be baited to death for their ^ 

amusement, the fair ladies enjoying it quite as 

much as the Spanish beauties of the present day. 

At seven o^clock, supper is served in the great ^ 

hall, and resembles the dinner on a much smaller 
scale. After supper the company amuse them- ^ 

selves with dancing, chess, draughts, dice, qui \ 

feray (hot cockles), or tiers (blindman^s buff), 
and other games, now numbered only among the . ^ 

sports of young children. At ten, the bell sum- 
mons to the chapel. Prayers are said by the ^ 
chaplain, and the household separates for the night. 

A large portion of the day was thus devoted j 

to amusements, which, however, will seem less * 

if we remember that in those days fashionable 
persons had not the resources for wasting time , 

that enables the present generation to kill so * 

much of their heavy burden. In those days, 
ladies rose many hours earlier than now; they ''^ 

had no shopping to do, no morning calls to make, 
no morning concerts or lectures to attend, no 
Polytechnic, or Crystal Palace, or bazaar, or ] 

missionary meetings, or tract societies, or novels | 

wherewith to occupy themselves. But still, then, 
as now, there were some who found excitement 

1584.] Lady Arabella Stuart 83 

more wearisome than work, and gladly stole some 
quiet hours to enjoy the calm companionship of 
the scanty literature that lay within their reach. 
Such was Lady Jane Grey, who, while her 
father and mother and the rest of the house- 
hold were hunting in the park, found more de- 
light in sitting alone in her chamber and reading 
the Phsedo of Plato ; and later on we shall find 
Arabella Stuart speaking with impatience of the 
*' everlasting hunting^' by which, perforce, she 
was dragged from studies in which she found 
far greater pleasure. 

But the gorgeous home of Arabella had long 
been the scene of the utmost misery. During 
the first years of his last marriage, the Earl of 
Shrewsbury had been as deeply enamoured of 
Bess as any of his predecessors. But for some 
time this had all come to an end. That the 
fault was mutual, the letters existing between the 
two parties abundantly prove. Bess could not 
suit herself to any one. Her former husbands 
had been men of gay spirits, who led easy lives, 
and did not require much besides cheerfulness in 
a wife. But Shrewsbury, as the responsible 
gaoler of Mary, Queen of Scots, was loaded with 
heavy cares of every kind. He was a great loser 
in a pecuniary sense by his charge, while his 
constant anxieties were enough to render a 

G 2 

84 Life and Letters of [1584. 

better-tempered man iretfal and unreasonable. 
No doubt Bess had hard trials. But then they 
were just the things she disliked. She was the 
last woman in the world to share voluntarily a 
failure, a mortification, a petty harassing care. 
She was the very one to tell the suflPerer hard 
truths in a hard manner — ^to point out, when too 
late, how difficulties might have been avoided, 
how success might have been obtained, and 
appropriating to herself the hard-bought expe- 
rience of the victim, launch it forth as inborn 
wisdom of her own. No pity for the errors oi a 
weaker nature, no tears for the fall of a noble 
soul, ever troubled her. Success in material things 
was the goal of her ambition, and any one who 
failed in that would have been deluded indeed in 
looking to her for sympathy. The failure of 
Shrewsbury, as regarded all emolument from the 
care of his royal prisoner, and the consequent 
embarrassment of his worldly affairs, were almost 
certain to impart a bitter tone to Bess. Spiteful 
words on the subject of the captive queen added 
to the gall created by money difficulties, and all 
mutual consideration soon became lost. 

The love of Shrewsbury for his wife turned to 
deadly hatred and disgust. Bess threw off her 
mask, and, like most worldly women as they 
draw towards old age, she stood confessed in her 

1584*] Lady Arabella Stuart 85 

real deformity. The families of Cavendish and 
Talbot were also at variance, and, strange to say, 
Gilbert Talbot, the Earl's eldest son, sided with 
Bess, while her youngest son, Henry Cavendish, 
took part with the Earl. Henry was immediately 
ejected from Chatsworth, and Bess transported 
all the best part of the furniture to Hardwick, 
placing her two sons, William and Charles, 
in possession of the dismantled house; but as 
Henry Cavendish had married the EarFs daughter, 
Shrewsbury declared his intention of seizing 

Accordingly, on the 28th of July, 1584, at two 
in the afternoon, the Earl, with forty horsemen, 
rode off from his castle at ShefiObeld, and arriving 
at the gates of Chatsworth, demanded admit- 
tance, declaring the house was his, and the goods 
that had been taken away were his property. 
William and Henry Cavendish both refused him 
entrance, adding, however, that, if he treated 
their lady mother well, they would yield it to him.f 
But Shrewsbury was now as infatuated with his 
hatred as he had formerly been with his love for 
Bess, and seemed bent on ruining her, regardless of 

♦ Letter of the Earl of Shrewsbury.— State Papers, Eliz., 
Dom., ccvii. MS. 

t Declaration of George fe^argell. — State Papers, Eliz., 
Dom., ccvii. fol. 32, MS. 


86 Life and Letters of [1584* 

her rights ; and he answered furiously " that he 
would come in, and that, if no other waie, he 
would famish them out/^ They replied that, at his 
marriage with Bess, he had conferred Chatsworth 
on them with his own hand and seal, and they 
positively refused to admit him. The Earl, j 

conscious of some truth in their words, and also 
that the fascinations of Bess had procured her 
high friends at Court, turned back, and, instead of 
forcing an entrance, as he had threatened, he rode 
home and drew up a set of ^^ remembrances to be J 

laid before the Queen/^ In these remembrances "j 

he admitted that he ^^ did make a deed of gift to j 

Charles and William Cavendish of my liberalitie | 

to the only use and behoof of my wife, and not , 

to the use or benefit of Charles or William j 

Cavendish/^ Two most extraordinary provisions, 
he says, are in the deed. The first is, that for 
ten shillings he and his wife may revoke the deed ; 
the second is, that the two Cavendishes should 
do nothing without the license and consent of his 
wife, their disobedience to her rendering the 
deed null and void. But then, says poor Shrews- 
bury, "in my wife having all referred to her 
disposition, I thought that she would use it as 
became a wife. She hath since, contrary to my 
meaning, appointed all to the benefit of her two 
younger sons, and excludeis me wholly from all. 



1584.] Lady Arabella Stuart 87 

and seeking to recompense my liberality with 
spite and disdain^ she hath animated her sou 
William Cavendish with weapons to deny me a 
night's lodging in Chatsworth, and to give me very 
hard language, greatly to my dishonour. So, as 
my wife having abused her duty towards me, and 
deceived the trust I committed to her, seeking to 
prefer the private profit of her sons by sinister 
practices to my dishonour, she deserveth no longer 
to have any part of my liberality. 

" It were no reason that my wife and her 
servants should rule me, and make me the wife 
and her the husband.'^* 

Bess, however, in her palmy days had made 
too sure a bargain for the Earl to retract now, 
and after numerous letters to the Queen and 
Walsingham, the Earl offered to compromise 
matters by a legal separation — ^he to receive 
the whole property, and out of it to allow the 
Countess Chatsworth House, £1500 a-year during 
her life, and a due possession of the lands to her 
children at his death. 

But, strange to say, the person who disapproved 
of the separation was the Queen. In the case of 
Bess, she seems to have laid aside her prejudices 
against matrimony, and ordained, to Shrewsbury's 
disgust — 

* State Papers, Eliz., Dom., ccvii. fol. 33, MS. 

88 Life and Letters of [1584. 

^^ First, that the Earl shall take and receive the 
said Countess, his wife, nnto him, and take pro- 
bation of her obedience, and if he find her forget- 
ftd of her duty unto him ia that time, then the 
Earl to be at his liberty to place her in her 
house at Chatsworth and leave her with her 
liviQg assigned her by the Lord Chancellor and 
the Earl of Leicester, according to her Majesty's 
order set down by them/' 

The Earl, on his part, was enjoined to behave 
well and courteously, and defray all her necessary 
expenses, to her degree and calling. 

Bess seems to have been desirous of living 
with her lord. She had no inclination to a 
limited income, and perhaps dreamed of recover- 
ing her lost sway over the immense domains of 
Shrewsbury. But nothing could revive the 
aflTection of the Earl. It had never been founded 
on respect, and he proved that he could be quite 
as spiteful and mean, and far more vindictive 
than Bess herself. He wrote to Walsingham, 
begging that Bess might be forbidden to come to 
Court, ^^ as a woman not fit for that honourable 
office.'' He declared himself ^^ ashamed to think 
of his choice of such a creature, with so divelish 
a disposition." He wanted her to refund all 
that he had given her, even to the smallest 
articles of household furniture, such as cups. 


1584.] Lady Arabella Stuart 89 

goblets, &c. ; and when, in obedience to the 
Queen's command, which was certainly a very in- 
judicious one, he was compelled to live with her, 
he left no chance of improvement on her side 
by the contemptible provocations he inflicted, 
even stooping so low as to curtail her aUowance 
of fire, and to meddle in the housekeeping in a 
manner which in all ranks and ages has been 
justly considered as placing a man below the 
level of the lowest female domestic* The house- 
hold, however, was still conducted on the most 
formal and stately plan, and the house-books 
in existencet still show such adnfirable order 
and regularity, that the pecuniary diflBculties of 
the Earl can in no way be charged to domestic 
mismangement. In the presence of the guests 
who frequented the HaU, the angry torrent was 
sufficiently curbed to render a visit almost as 
pleasant as ever. It was as a private home that 
Hardwick was so miserable ; and child as she 
was, we may well imagine Arabella already dream- 
ing of escape, especially as we have seen that 
her guardians had not thought her too young to 
be awakened to the prospects of matrimony — 
witness the exchange of pictures between her and 

* Letter of Lady Shrewsbury. — State Papers, Eliz., Dom., 
ccvii. fol. 31, MS. 

t Among the Harl. MSS. 


90 Life and Letters of [1585. 1 

her proposed husband — the " noble imp" — Lord J 

Denbigh. 1 

The failure of that plan by no means cooled 
the zeal of her friends, who now took higher ^ 

aim. On the 25th of May, we find Walsingham 
writing to Mr. Wotton, and instructing him to 
" deal particularly with the King about his mar- ] 

riage, and to recommend the King of Denmark^s 
daughter or the Lady Arbella"^ Wotton, how- 
ever, returned answer that the King was just then 
not inclined to marry " one or other." Buck '^ 

and hare hunting were the only pleasures that he 1 

cared for then, but when he wanted to choose 
a wife he would certainly be guided by Wal- ! 

singham and Leicester.f This was probably an 
act of deference on the part of James to Queen \ 

Elizabeth, whom he supposed to be the real ' 

maker of the offer on the part of Arabella, for we 
find him at this very time as anxious as ever for 
the Queen to acknowledge his title — an anxiety for 
which she gave him ample cause. In 1586, she ^ 

promises him a yearly pension, and solemnly 
swears ^^ on the inviolable word of a queen," 
never to do anything to prejudice his " pretended 
title," and succession to her crown, " unless by | 

his public misbehaviour and ingratitude wee be ^ 

• State Papers, Scotch Series, xxxvii. fol. 47, MS. 
t Ibid, xxxix., MS. 

1586.] Lady Arabella Stuart 91 

justly moved to the contrary^^ — a clause that 
left the matter entirely to her decision after all, 
especially the words " pretended title/' an ex- 
pression that gave the greatest alarm to James, 
who immediately wrote begging her to expunge 
the offensive word. Elizabeth replied by pro- 
mising never to suffer anything impairing any 
title he might have.* This, however, left the title 
unspecified, the question of succession remaining 
as open as ever; and so James drew up an in- 
strument declaring himself to be Elizabeth's 
successor, and sent it for her signature. The 
Queen refused this, alleging that she found in the 
document ^^many things comprised meeter to 
pass between strange persons that sought assur- 
ance of profit by force of proved writing than 
by force of mutual kindness and reciprocal love, 
out of which most properly all like varieties and 
fruits of love do spring.'' 

And so the matter ended, leaving a canker in 
the heart of James, while the innocent cause of 
his jealousy was, in 1586, a third time put for- 
ward as a candidate for matrimony. The bride- 
groom proposed in this instance was Rainutio, 
son of the Duke of Parma,t and one of the 
claimants of the English crown. The matter, 

* State Papers, Scotch Series, xl. fol. 4, MS. 
t Ibid. xix. 108. 

92 Life and Letters of [J5^7* ^ 

however, at this period, did not go beyond a dis- 
cussion in secret, and for some reason was 1 
dropped for the time, but only to be revived in 
a more dangerous manner a few years later. « 

Arabella, who probably looked on a husband 
in the light of a new doll, bore her third disap- j 

pointment with resignation. She continued to 1 

justify the opinion of Sir Walter Mildmay. The 
Queen took notice of her, and though she fre- 
quently changed her residence, living now in 
Derbyshire with Bess, or her Cavendish rela- ^ 

tions, and now with her aunt Mary Talbot, in '\ 

London, in Newgate Street or Chelsea, yet she 
seems to have continued her studies in all places 
alike, and to progress as fast as if she had re- 
mained undisturbed at school. ^^ It is wonder- 
fal,'' says Charles Cavendish, /^ how she profit- 
eth in her book, and I believe she will dance with 
exceeding good grace, and can behave herself with 
great proportion to every one in their degree.^'* 

Sometimes, she appears to have been left at 
the town house of the Earl of Shrewsbury, in the 
care of ladies appointed by her aunt, when the 
latter was unable to remain in town with her 
niece. The motive for leaving Arabella in town 
was probably to keep her near the Queen, whO) 

* Letter of Charles Cavendish in Miss Costello's " Memoirs 
of Eminent Englishwomen." 

1587.] Lady Arabella Stuart 93 

it was hoped^ would take aa interest in her. 
The following letter alludes to one of these visits 
to the metropolis : — 

Sir Henry Goodere to Mary Lucy Talbot.* 

'^ Madam^ — I do understand by my mother 
Rumbold^ that your ladyship hath had some 
speech with her, touching your charge at Newgate 
Street, and that it is your ladyship's pleasure I 
should write unto you in what sort I might 
(without any hindrance) be able to provide for 
the diet of my Lady Arbella and the rest there 
by your ladyship's appointment. And as I am 
already assured of your ladyship's most honor- 
able mind, that I should no way charge myself, 
so am I most desirous to have your ladyship 
hold that opinion of me, that I mean not to make 
a gain by your ladyship in any such sort. And 
therefore I have called myself a straight reckon- 
ing, and find by my attempt that my house- 
keeping doth stand me in five marks every week 
now more then I spent before the ladies came to 
Newgate Street, which I will leave to. your 
own honorable consideration. And howsoever it 
shall please your ladyship, I will be most ready 

• Daughter of Sir William Cavendish and wife of Gilbert, 
Lord Talbot, afterwards Earl of Shrewsbury.— -Sloane, MS. 
4161, fol. 1. 

94 Life and Letters of [1587. ^ 

to do you all the humble service I can. And J 

so with my humble duty to your ladyship^ I ] 

commit your honour to the Almighty. j 

'' Newgate Street, this 10th of October, 1587. J 

^' Your Ladyship^s most humbly at 


'' H. GooDERE.^' i 

" My Lady Arbella (thanks be to God) is well 
and in health with all the rest of the ladies, and 
have been so ever since your ladyship saw ' 


" To the Right Honorable, my very good Lady I 

the Lady Talbot, at the Court." 

The death of her aunt, Mary, Queen of Scots, 
was the immediate cause of Arabella's presenta- 1 

tion to Court. Cold-hearted as James had shown ' 

himself to his mother in her troubles, he pro- 
fessed, at least, the utmost indignation at her 
death, and vowed vengeance against the Queen 
of England. Then, for the first time, the poli- J 

tical significance of the existence of- his little 
cousin was brought into bearing, and made a 
weapon against the just anger of James. The * 

partisans of Queen Elizabeth in Scotland ad- j 

monished the King to recollect that he was now j 

next heir to the English crown, and advised him 1 

not to risk the forfeiture of succession by offend- 

1587.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 95 

ing the Queen of England. The English army 
was reinforced on the marches, English gold was 
plentifully distributed among the Scotch nobility ; 
but the most powerful argument to silence James 
consisted in inviting Arabella Stuart to Court, 
and speaking of her in ambiguous terms as the 
successor to the crown. The little girl of twelve 
years was brought forward in public, took pre- 
cedence of all the nobles, and was almost treated 
as Princess Royal. One especial mark of grace 
was conferred upon her — that of dining with the 
great Queen. 

Hentzner, an eye-witness, gives us a curious 
account of the ceremony with which the royal 
dinner was prepared : — 

First, entered an usher with his rod, and with 
him a gentleman carrying a table-cloth. Both 
kneeled thrice, and then, spreading the table- 
cloth, kneeled again and jetired. They were 
followed by a second usher an^ a gentleman with 
a salt-cellar, a plate, and bread, which were 
placed upon the table with the same ceremony. 
When the bearers had retired, there came an 
unmarried lady, dressed in white silk, and bear- 
ing a tasting-knife, who, after thrice kneeling, 
rubbed the plates with bread and salt. Next 
followed the yeomen of the guard, bare-headed, 
and clothed in scarlet, with a golden rose on 

96 Life and Letters of [^587. 

their backs, and bearing twenty-four dishes 
served in gilt plate. Three dishes were then 
delivered, one by one, to a gentleman, who placed 
them on the table, when the lady in white silk 
gave each of the guards a mouthful out of the 
dish that he had brought — a by no means unne- 
cessary precaution against poison. During the 
bringing in of these dishes, twelve trumpets and 
two kettle-drums in the hall announced the im- 
portant hour. When all was ready, a number of 
unmarried ladies appeared, who, ^^with much 
solemnity,^^ lifted the dishes from the table and 
carried them into the Queen's inner apartment, 
where she always dined alone, save a few attend- 
ants, and after her Majesty had been served, the 
dishes were carried out and dispensed to the 
ladies of the Court. 

The greatest mark of intimacy that Queen 
Elizabeth could give was considered to be that of 
permitting any one to dine with her in this inner 
apartment. Even a foreign prince was not allowed 
this extraordinary honour without much interest 
and eflFort. Yet into this holy place was the 
young Arabella admitted; she dined off the 
sacred viands, and, after dinner, was introduced 
by the Queen to the nobles and ambassadors who 
were assembled in the next apartment. On one 
of these occasions, Madame d'Aubespine de 

1588.] Lady Arabdla Stuart 97 

Ch&teauneuf, the wife of the French ambassa- 
dor, was present. 

She relates that after dinner, while the Queen 
was standing snrronnded by a crowd of gentlemen, 
her Majesty asked the ambassadress if she had seen 
a little girl, her relation, who was there, and as 
she spoke she called Arabella to her. Madame 
de Chateauneuf immediately noticed and praised 
the child, doubtless in all sincerity, for we hear 
but one opinion of Arabella. She remarked 
how well she spoke French, and said that she 
appeared very sweet and gracious. '^Look 
well at her,^' said the Queen, ''for she 
is not so unimportant as you may think. 
One day she will be even as I am, and wiQ 
be Lady Mistress; but I shall have been 
before her.^' 

It is scarcely probable that Queen Elizabeth 
had any real intention of appointing Arabella as 
her successor; but she found it very useful to 
keep a check on James by such speeches as these, 
and it was probably in this light that the French 
ambassador regarded them. He was much 
pleased with Arabella, and describes her at this 
time as having '' much understanding, speaking 
Latin, French, and Italian well, sufficiently hand- 
some in the face, and,^' he adds, ominously, 

VOL. I. H 

98 Life andr Letters of [1588. -i 

^^ without doubt (she) would be the lawful in^ 

heritress of the crown, if James of Scotland were ' i 

excluded as a foreigner/^ \ 

Lord Burgliley was on terms of the greatest y! 

intimacy with the Shrewsbury family. He inte- \ 

rested himself vainly for Arabella when she was ' 

left a poor infant, and he continued to treat her \ 

as a favourite and pet. On the day that she 
was presented at Court and dined with the Queen, J 

he made her take supper with him, and it was in | 

his house that, probably for the first time, she j 

met Sir Walter Raleigh. Burghley ^^ made ex- ^ 

ceeding much of her^^ at supper, recounted her 
accomplishments enthusiastically to Raleigh, and 
after supper, took her into the great hall, where 
he presented her to his guests in the same fond ^ 

manner,* and when the flattered child bade him 
good night, he eagerly asked when she would 
come again to Court. ^ 

Before leaving town, Mr. Gilbert Talbot and 
his wife, probably taking Arabella with them, . 

went to take leave of the good old treasurer. ' 

He was at the time imable to see them, and so 
they wrote from their ^^ pore lodging in Coleman 
Strete,^^ to bid. him farewell. At the end of 
this letter, dated July 13, 1588, is a postscript 

* Letter of Charles Cavendish in Miss Costello*s " Eminent 
Englishwomen," vol. i. p. 210. 

1589.] Lady Arabella Stuart 99 

by Arabella^ interesting as the earliest piece of 
her writing still in existence. It was written 
at the age of thirteen, and is in French — ^pro- 
bably to exhibit her proficiency in that lan- 

" Je priezez Dieu Mons. vous donner en par- 
faicte et entiere sante, tout heureux,^et bon 
succes et serez preste h> vous faire tout honneur 
et service.* 

"Arbella Stewart.^' 

In 1589 the question of her lands seems to 
have been mooted. They were probably lands 
left her by her mother ; and two or three times 
we find reference to the manor of SmaUwood, in 
Derbyshire, about which was a long lawsuit on 
behalf of ''the Lady Arabella.^'f 

On Feb. 5th, 1589, Sir Francis Walsingham 
writes to Thomas Fowler, ''This morning, my 
Lord Treasurer sent unto me to give you ad- 
vertisement that for the defense of some of the 
lands belonging to the Lady Arbella, now in 
question, he should have need of the evidences 
of the said lands, and therefore to request you 
to send him word where the said evidences re- 
main and how he may come to them, whereon I 

* Ellis' Letters, Second Series, 
t See Chancery Bills, Eliz. 

H 2 

100 Life and Letters of [^590. 

pray you with all expedition to give his lordship 
such satisfaction as you can/^* 

The eflPorts were probably unsuccessful, for 
Arabella remained as poor as before. Another 
diflSculty arose : the jewels left by Margaret, 
Countess of Lennox, for Arabella, were, as we 
have seen, given by warrant of Mary, Queen of 
Scots, into the hands of Thomas Fowler, who 
was to keep them in his charge till Arabella was 
fourteen years old, when they were to be de- 
livered to her. Unfortunately, at this critical 
period, Thomas Fowler died, and the jewels came 
into the hands of King James. Arabella had 
now reached the age of fourteen, and Lord 
Burghley wrote on her account, demanding the 
jewels. This demand was also made in vain. 
On the 4th of June, 1590, Robert Bowes writes 
to Lord Burghley : " Simdrie times I have moved 
the King, that the jewels late in the .hands of 
Thomas Fowler, deceased, and appertaining to 
the Lady Arbell, might be restored to her. 
Nevertheless, I am still deferred, that upon 
sight of the Lady Margaret's will the King will 
take order in all these things.^' 

On the 12th of June, 1590, Bowes again 
writes to Burghley: "I have again, and with 
some earnestness, sought that the jewels late in 
* State Papers, Scot., xlv. fol. 55, MS. 

I590-] Lady Arabella Stuart 101 

hand of Mr. Fowler, deceased, and appertaining 
to the Lady Arbella, and the bills, bonds, writ 
ings, apparel, and other goods of Mr. Fowler, 
taken by Earl Bothwell, might be restored. But 
the King hath answered, yesterday, that he doth 
not only detain them in recompense of such 
legacies as the Lady Margaret Douglas be- 
queathed to him, and left in Mr. Fowler's custody 
to be delivered to him, and whereof he is not 
hitherto satisfied by any part; but also that 
these jewels and pearls being the goods of 
Thomas Fowler, appertain to the King, for that 
he died intestate and was a stranger here. He 
agreed to submit the matter to the Council.^'* 

The son of Fowler besought restitution, pro- 
mising to pay his father's debts, and especially to 
restore such jewels as belonged to Arabella and 
others. But the King ordered all debts due to 
Mr. Fowler to be paid to himself. The debtors, 
in fear of the royal summons, were inclined to 
obey the unjust demand, and pay the money to 
the King, ^^ out of whose hands,'' says Bowes, 
'^ it will be hard to recover the same." Bowes 
was well aware of the King's intention to claim 
them on the ground of Fowler dying intestate, 
and resolved to do all in his power to preserve 
the money. 

* State Papers, Scot., xlv. fol. 62, MS. 



102 Life and Letters of [1590- 

Whether the jewels were recovered is iin- J 

certain ; the probabilities are that they were, at 
any rate, partly restored, as, later on, we find , 

Arabella in possession of jewels ; and her dress -i 

is estimated at an amount totally at variance \ 

with her income, and which can only be com- ^ 

prehended by reckoning, jewels as the chief 
article of expense. 

At this time, a change took place in the hom e < ' 

of Arabella, and a new lord ruled over the do- 1 

maiiis of the house of Shrewsbury, unhappily 
without bringing any improvetnent in domestic 

On the 18th of November, 1590, died George, 
sixth Earl of Shrewsbury, the fourth and last 
husband of Sess of Hardwick, an event which 
led to estrangement between his widow and those 
of his sons, who had heretofore been on peaceable 
terms with each other. And still the all-fruitM 
source of discord between relations — ^money — 
continued the strife that had embittered the life 
of the last Earl. He had left his two younger 
sons, Edward and Henry Talbot, executors, in 
preference to Gilbert, his heir, who had offended 
him by taking part with Bess against him. 
The two sons renounced the executorship, and 
Bess, stepping in, claimed and obtained the 
adminislration. But to this, Gilbert Talbot, 

I590-] Lady Arabella Stuart 103 

now Earl of Shrewsbury, refiised to submit, and 
succeeded in obtaining the administration de novo, 
and in putting Bess completely out of office. 
Violent dissensions between the Earl and widow 
were the consequence, the former being at the 
same time at war with his brothers, one of whom 
(Edward Talbot) was accused of trying to poison 
him by means of a pair of perfumed gloves. 

Arabella was thus continually in the midst of 
discord and strife. Prom the time of her grand- 
mother's estrangement from her fourth husband^ 
there had been little peace at home, and the sus- 
picions with which Queen Elizabeth now began 
to regard Arabella, did not serve to render the 
change to London much more attractive. 

Those who have not known a happy home in 
early youth, if gifted with strong capabilities of 
aflfection, are prone to place a high value on 
domestic happiness. To them it seems a far-oflT 
haven of peace, a goal brighter than any that 
ambition can oflfer — ^nay, even ambition to them 
is but the path which they trust may lead to the 
serene reward. They wish to be known in 
order to be loved; and while the world sees 
only a battler for distinction, and good persons 
possibly hold forth on the vanity and worldliness 
of their aims, the true interpretation of their 
ambition would be to be truly known. 

104 Life and Letters of [^590. *^ 

That this was the predominant feeling in the 
heart of Arabella, there can be little doubt. Her ' 

keen intellect was, as is generally the case, ac- 
companied by ardent and sympathetic feelings, ^ 
To be a princess of the blood royal was no source ^ 
of congratulation to her. Her rank shut her 1 
out from all companionship with girls of her own 
age, and there were no high natures in the 
mature minds of those aroimd her on whom she ^^ 
could repose with reverence and confidence. \ 
The worldly Bess could give her education and 
care for all her physical wants, but that was all. 
And so Arabella fell back on the only resource of 
a lonely, gifted mind — ^the companionship of books. ^ 
But, in her day, that was a far poorer compen- 
sation for the lack of friendship and sympathy 
than even at present. Science was in its earliest 
infancy. The fine arts were practised only in 
foreign countries, and literature was chiefly con- ^ 
fined to the classics. The romance reader was 
compelled to be satisfied with the woes of Dido 
and the lovers of Penelope. Such literature as lay 
within her reach was, however, eagerly devoured by 
Arabella, and it is probable that now began those \ 
dreams of a romantic home, a companion who 
could comprehend her, and a lot where Love 
should reign triumphant. ^ 

1588.] Lady Arabella Stuart 105 



jlRABELLA was now nearly fifteen years 
old, and with every year her importance 
increased. Though not what is called 
beautiful, her face was lighted up with that anima- 
tion and intelligence which is more charming 
than beauty, while her auburn hair flowing over 
her shoulders, her blue eyes, and rounded figure, 
gave the clearest denial to those who would 
refuse her all credit for the possession of even 
physical charms.* She was one of those who 
make such totally diflferent impressions on diffe- 
rent persons — characters not unknown in our 
own day, whose beauty is chiefly '^in the eye 
of the gazer,-^ — and hence we have the most 
opposite accounts of her appearance; and while 
some have pronounced her as having no claim to 
good looks, others, probably those who conversed 
with and listened to her, have unhesitatingly, 

* Numerous portraits exist of her. No less than eight 
miniatures of her were exhibited at the South Kensington 
Museum alone. 


106 Life and Letters of [1588. 

and without qualification^ applied to her the 
term " beautiful/^ Her portraits well confirm 
the impression of a disputed claim to beauty, 
but all alike express intelligence and goodness. 

But none of these advantages, so powerful in 1 

plebeian life, had any effect on her destiny. 
None cared to win her for her merits or her I 

graces — all sought to gain her as a political tool, I 

and a firebrand to kindle the flames of war. li 

The dispersion of the Spanish Armada had not ^ 

given peace to Queen Elizabeth. When the 
first excitement of the triumph was over, new 
cares pressed upon her, new invasions threatened , 

her, and domestic conspiracy began to lift its "^ 

hydra head and poison her life with suspicions 
too well founded to make us wonder at acts 
that, looked at without the accompanying circum- 
stances, appear at first sight unmitigated tyranny. 
And tyranny they certainly were, as a glance J* 

at the statute-book of this reign will amply jl 

testify. But that every provocation was given | 

can be no more denied than the jacts themselves. | 

It is a common saying, that '^Elizabeth was j 

great as a queen, little as a woman.^^ It would •: 

be much better to say that some of her acts j 

were right and others wrong, some her glory 
and others her shame, and thus judge her solely ^ 

as a human being. It is forgotten that Eliza- | 

y 1588.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 107 

beth had the sternest masculine duties imposed 
upon her, that her advisers were men of severe 
natures, that the amount of hard unromantic 
y work she daily performed would frighten many 

I a nervous man of the present day, who might 

I well shrink from the mere idea of only mastering 

the contents of her vast and incessant corre- 
spondence ; that amidst all these sterner duties, 
y and the constant cares and anxieties that pressed 

I upon her, she neglected none of the minor cere- 

[ monies and observances that, insignificant in 

themselves, are yet representatives of certain 
1 feelings, and form an important link between a 

sovereign and her people. Heavily would these 
stupendous labours have fallen on the strongest 
man, yet they would in all probability have been 
lightened by the sympathy, sometimes a better 
thing than the aid of a consort, one who, like 
Philippa at the siege of Calais, might have pleaded 
that mercy was at times better than justice, and 
dispelled the terrors that are the most fruitful 
sources of crimes. But Elizabeth had no such 
adviser and consoler. That her solitary condi- 
tion was her own choice, is a reply worthy of those 
who regard marriage only in the light of a good 
business transaction, or im engagement which 
every woman is bound to form under peril of 
being considered deficient in the softest feelings 

108 Life and Letters of [1589. 

of humanity. That, in spite of the cruelties 
from the stigma of which she cannot be freed, 
she was intensely susceptible of feelings which 
she deemed it her duty to crush cannot be denied. 
Her faithful friendship for Burghley, her bitter 
tears at his death, her love for little children, 
her melancholy observation on hearing that the 
Queen of Scots was the mother of a " faire 
sonne/^ the honour she paid to men of genius, 
who, knowing her faults, have yet left their re- 
corded words in herfavour — all go to prove that she 
really sacrificed herself in this matter to the good of 
her kingdom, and to the highest feelings of which 
she was capable, viz., not to entrust all that was 
precious to her to one who was incapable of ful- 
filling that trust with honour and devotion. As 
to her suitors, which of them could be consort 
for such a mind? the false Dudley, the cruel 
Philip, the dissolute Anjou, the fickle Charles, 
and the host of inferior men, who, as Elizabeth 
well knew, paid court to her throne, and not to 
herself, and who proved their unworthiness and 
her just judgment of them by becoming her 
enemies afterwards ? But the unmitigated tasks 
fell too hardly, and the cruel suspicions from 
which she could not escape poisoned her better 
nature, and with the hard sacrifice of her own 
feelings, went hand-in-hand the sacrifice of the 



1590.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 109 

feelings of others. The innocent misrepresented 
to her by the guilty, were treated as guilty ; and 
those who truly known would have been appre- 
ciated, and might have been a solace to her, 
were by her enemies presented in such odious 
forms, that her sight was perplexed, and she 
looked upon them as traitors and enemies too. 
As early as the year 1586,* we have seen that a 
plan had been formed for marrying Arabella 
Stuart to the Prince of Parma, son of Alexander 
Famese, the famous duke, the object of the 
'^ foul scorn ^^ of Elizabeth. Nothing then came 
from this, and the probability is that Elizabeth 
was ignorant of the design, as she treated 
Arabella and her relations with such favour. 
But in the year 1590t the plan was renewed, 
not by the relations of Arabella, who had nothing 
to do with it, but by the discontented English 
Catholics, supported by the Pope. The eldest 
son of Alexander Farnese was the first proposed, 
but as he was encumbered with a wife, his 
younger brother, the Cardinal Famese, was to be 
released from his vows by the Pope, and as he 
was the direct descendant of the line of Philippa, 
the eldest legitimate daughter of John of Gaunt, 

* State Papers, Scotch Ser., xix. fol. 108, MS. 
f State Papers, Scotch Ser., xlvi. fol. 15, MS. Carte, iv. 
p. 707. 


110 Life and Letters of [1590. 

and wife to John I. of Portugal, he was supposed to 
have aelaim to the EngKsh crown. Cardinal Famese 
was to marry Arabella, become king of England, 
and the reign of the Catholics was once more to 
be established. The party who supported this 
plan consisted of Boman Catholics, too patriotic 
to choose the foreign Infanta of Spain, and too 
much attached to their religion to wish for a 
Protestant on the throne. Arabella, though 
acknowledged a Protestant, was but a girl sup- 
posed to be easily influenced, and was even sus- 
pected of wavering already. It was for the sake 
of bringing in foreign aid to strengthen her pre- 
tensions that the Catholics wished to marry her 
to Farnese, and by his means give force to the 
objection of alienatioji against James of Scotland. 
Pope Gregory, and later on. Pope Clement 
VIII., perfectly understood this feeling. Clement, 
especially, saw that too many of the Roman y 

Catholics of England, as well as the King of 
France, were against the Infanta to give any 
hope for her, and he, therefore, for many years, 
sanctioned the present wild and outrageous 
scheme. Among other things, it was rumoured 
that a man named Revel, called also Lord Lati- 
mer, painted, with the assistance of HUliard, a por- 
trait of Arabella, to send to the Duke of Parma.* 

* State Papers, Eliz., Dom., 1591, MS. 

^ 1590*] Lady Arabella Stuart 111 

New reports and suspicions were soon added 
and put into circulation, and among them one 
that she was to marry the Earl of Northumber- 
land^how well-founded and how worthy of credence 
may be judged from the following extract from 
'^ Certain Notes of remembrance out of the ex- 
amination of H. Walpole and others :'^ — 

'^ It should seem there is some eye abroad 
and some project of contriving a match between 
^ the Earl of Northumberland and the Lady Ar- 

bella; not that there appeareth any practise 
thereof on this side, but if they abroad conceive 
it to be apt for the purpose at one time or the 
other, they will set the traflfic a-foot/^* 

To this may be appended a miserable concoc- 
tion, only valuable as showing the sources of the 
unjust and ridiculous rumours that deprived 
Arabella of the favour of the Queen :t — 

'^ What speeches the Earl of Shrewsbury, my 

I lord and master, used to me at my being with him 

the 24th of September, being Thursday, 1590, at 
his house at Hanworth, in his chamber (account 
I of talk that he had about my lady his life), with 

almost tears in his eyes, that he feared the 
'I Lady Arabella would bring much trouble on his 

J house by his wife and his daughter's devises. 

* State Papers, Eliz., Dom., ccxxxv. fol. 19, MS. 
t Ibib. ccxxxiii., 73, MS. 

112 Life and Letters of [1590. 

And there withal clapt his hands sundry times 
upon his breast, saying, ^ Here it lies, here it 
lies. Do you not know one Dr. Browne,^ said 
he, 'about London, a cunning fellow, he is a 
great man with my daughter Talbot and the 
Cavendishes ?^ I answered, ' I know him not.' 
' Well,^ said he, ' that same Browne is a masker 
in this house. And my wife and her daughter 
have great affairs with him. And at dealing with 
some of the heralds about matters which must 
be kept from me (for they think I am a great 
block in their way), I know Gilbert Talbot will 

be too much ruled by those , for they do 

with him what they will list, and so I have said 
to some of his friends, but all will not help. If 
God give me any ability and health, I -svill to the 
Queene this next spring, though I go but two 
miles a-day. And I know that the Queene 
favours not Gilbert Talbot. Both for those 
matters he took part with my wife in against me. 
And for the Lady Arabell. She was wont to 
have the upper hand of my wife and her daugh- 
ter Talbot, but now it is otherwise (as it is told me) 
for that they have been advised by some of their 
friends at the Court that it was misliked. My 
daughter Talbot persuaded her husband how he is 
bound by aU laws, both divine and others, that he 
ought not to keep any secrets from her being his 

I590-] Lady Arabella Stuart. 113 

wife, whatsoever it be that he knoweth or 

It was at this time that Arabella received the 
following, her first letter from James of Scot- 
land : — 

The King of Scotland to Lady Arabella Stuart.* 

" Although the natural bonds of blood, my dear 
cousin, be suflScient for the good entertainments 
of amity, yet will I not abstain from those com- 
mon offices of letters, having now so long keeped 
silence till the fame and report of so good parts 
in you have interpelled me. And as I cannot 
but in heart rejoice, so can I not forbeare to 
signify to you hereby, what contentment I have 
received hearing of your so virtuous behaviour, 
wherein I pray you most heartily to continue, 
not that I doubt thereof, being certified of so 
full concourse of nature and nourriture, but that 
you may be the more encouraged to proceed in 
your virtuous demeanour, reaping the fruit of so 
honest estimation, the increase of your honour 
and joy, and your kindly afiected friends, specially 
of me, whom it pleaseth most to see so virtuous 
and honorable scions arise of that race whereof 
we have both our descent. Now hearing more 
certain notice of the place of your abode, I will 

* State Papers, Scot., xlvii., fol. 123. 
VOL. I. I 


114 Life and Letters of [1591- \ 

the more frequently visit you by my letters, 
whicli I would be glad to do in person, expecting ^ 

also to know from time to time of your estate by 
your own hand, which I look you will not weary I 

to do, being first summoned by me, knowing how 
far I shall be pleased thereby. In the meanwhile, 
and next occasion of further knowledge of your 
state, after my heartiest commendation, I wish 
you, my dear cousin, of God all honour and 
hearty contentment. 1 

'' From Holyrood House, the 23rd of December, 

" Your loving and affectionate cousin, 

" James R.^' 

The chief suspected Papist in the family was j 

Mary Talbot, the wife of Gilbert, who was re- \ 

peatedly warned on account of his wife. He did 
not deny that she was a Papist, but declared his 
soul '' as clear as crystal,^' and invited a strict in- 
vestigation of his family with regard to their sup- 
posed plots. We may be pretty sure that, if 
there had been the shadow of a proof against 
Arabella or Gilbert^s wife, they would have 
speedily felt the effects. Ko trial or punishment 
was inficted, but from this time Queen EHzabeth 
looked upon Arabella with a suspicious eye. We 
hear no more of her presence at the royal dinner- 

1592.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 115 

parties, or of public honours paid to her before 
foreign ambassadors. The poor child had become 
the centre of a party, and was looked upon al- 
most as guilty as if the plots were made on her 
behalf rather than on those of the plotters. They 
were, however, sufficiently in earnest to wish to get 
hold of her, and it is by no means unlikely that, 
once in possession of her, they would have forced 
her to marry Famese, and commenced active 
operations in good earnest. The following curious 
conversation between two Catholic agents is ex- 
tracted £rom the confession of a Jesuit named 
James Yong, and though perhaps extorted by the 
rack, and therefore unreliable, it is valuable as 
showing in what light Arabella was represented 
to Queen Elizabeth, and what cause the latter 
had for her suspicions ; — 

'^ When Roulston departed back again, he came 
to Stanley, who said, ' Thou art welcome, I hope* 
Thou shalt be employed in as good service for 
the Lady of which we have often talked.^ At 
which time he said no more. Yet, being de- 
manded after by one Dr. Stillington what the 
Lady was, ' Oh V saith he, ' if we had her, the 
most of our fears were past, for any one that- 
h could hinder us in England. It is Arbella/ 

» saith he, ^ who keepeth with the Earl of Shrews- 

i( bury, whom most certainly they will proclaim 

f I 2 

116 Life and Letters of [^59^. 

Queen, if their mistress should now happen to 
die. And the rather they wiU do it, for that in 
a woman's government they may still rule after 
their own designments. But here is Symple/ 
saith he, ' and Rowlston, who, like cimning fel- 
lows, have promised to convey her by stealth out 
of England into Flanders, which, if it be done, I 
promise unto you she shall shortly after visit 
Spain/ ''* 

This confession was made before the Lord- 
Keeper Puckering, Lord Buckhurst, and Mr. 
Fortescue, Chancellor of the Exchequer, who im- 
mediately sent it to Burghley, by whom it was 
imparted to the Queen. ^^ Her Majesty,^' says 
Burghley, ^^ would not any here of her Council 
know that part of his confession, but only myself 
and Robert Cecil, because, seeing the length, to 
ease me, she caused him to read it.'' 

The secrecy was wise, and very soon the words 
of the priest were confirmed by another, named 
Thomas Christopher, who deposed that '^ Sir Wil- 
liam Stanley, at his last coming from Rome, being 
entertained with great courtesy by My Lord the 
Bishop of Montefiascou at supper, discoursed 
largely of the state of England. Among other 
things, saying : ^ that one young Lady, as yet un- 
married, was the greatest fear they had, lest she 
* Strype*8 " Annals," iv. p. 102. 

i592«] Lady Arabella Stuart 117 

should be proclaimed Queen, if it should so 
happen that her Majesty should die/ Yet there 
vas hope that some will be found to hinder this 
matter. So he would not name the Lady, 
his man being there in presence. Yet, at my 
coming to Paris, and talking with one Mr. Robert 
Tempest, I repeated again these words, demand- 
ing if he did know anything concerning this young 
Lady. He answered that very shortly he trusted 
to God to meet with her here at Brussels. For 
that one Simple, a Scot, and one Rowlston, 
had undertaken to convey her out of England. 
The Lady doth abide with an Earl whose name 
I do not remember. And she is allied to the 
Queen of Scots.^^ * 

Sir William Stanley was said, by another priest, 
to have a pension for life of three hundred 
crowns a-month fipom the King of Spain. He 
appears to have been the chief agent employed to 
obtain possession of Arabella. His myrmidons were 
sent to England to collect mariners for the King 
of Spain, and disguised as beggars, they wandered 
about, seeking to corrupt by foreign gold, and 
promises of advancement, all whose loyalty to 
England was weaker than their allegiance to the 
Pope. Their eflforts, however, failed. Arabella 
was too strictly guarded, and so long as she re- 
• Strype's " Annals," iv. p. 106. 

118 Life and Letters of [159a. 

mained in England, there was but little hope of 
her forming a raUying-point. 

Perhaps a latent remorse at having deprived 
.Arabella of her title of Countess of Lennox, and 
her father's estates, made James now try in some 
measure to make compensation for his injustice. 
The earldom of Lennox had been conferred by 
-him on his favourite, D'Aubigny (Esme Stuart), 
and James again proposed that he should marry 
Arabella, and thus restore her lost rights at the 
same time that he added to the dignity of his 
favourite. D^Aubigny eagerly accepted the pro- 
j)Osed honour. ^^ It is told me,^' says Robert 
-Bowes, writing to Lord Burghley, ^' that the Duke 
of Lennox knoweth an especial personage in 
England to follow his cause there, and that still, 
by advice of a great personage here, he longeth 
after Arbella.^^ * James, haviQg no children, de- 
clared his intention of naming Esme Stuart as 
his successor to the Crown of Scotland, and thus 
his marriage with Arabella would have had the 
«ame effect of uniting the two crowns, in case 
of Jameses death without issue, as if he had lived. 

Arabella was probably no more consulted on 
the matter than in the other matrimonial plans on 
her account, nor do we find that her maternal rela- 
tions fell at all into the plan, which was at once 
* State Papers, Sootch Series, xliz., foL 23, MS. 

ij92.] Lady Arabella Stuart 119 

put an end to by the stem refusal of Queen 
Elizabeth^ who signified her disapprobation in such 
bitter terms and scomfal language that James 
adduced it as one reason for forming a con- 
federacy mth the King of Spain against her. 
And thus ended the fourth proposal for the hand 
of Arabella. 

The Catholics were still on the alert, and con- 
stantly watching for a safe opportunity either of 
drawing her into their plots or of getting her 
into their power. The counter-spies employed by 
Burghley and the Queen, however, rendered all 
their efforts vain. A strict watch, night and 
day, was kept over Arabella, and a letter from 
Lord Burghley warned Bess (of Hardwick) of the 
dangers that were lurking near, and cautioned 
her to use all her vigilance in the guardianship 
of her precious charge. « 

Bess returned the following answer, which is 
interesting, especially as showing the manner in 
which Arabella's daily life was passed : — 

Tlie Dowager Countess of Shrewsbury to Lord 

'' My honorable good Lord, — I received your 
Lordship's letter on Wednesday towards night, 
being the 20th of this September, by a servant 

•EUis's" Letters." 

120. Life and Letters of [1592. 

of Mr. John Talbot^s of Ireland. My good 
Lord, I was at the first much troubled to think 
that so wicked and mischievous practises should 
be devised to entrap my poor Arbell and me, 
but I put my trust in the Almighty, and will 
use such diligent care as I doubt not but to 
prevent whatsoever shall be attempted by any 
wicked persons against the poor child. I am 
most bound to her Majesty that it pleased her 
to appoint your Lordship to give me knowledge 
of this wicked practice, and I humbly thank your 
Lordship for advertising it ; if any such like be 
hereafter discovered, I beseech your Lordship 
I may be forewarned. I will not have any un- 
known or suspected person to come to my house. 
Upon the least suspicion that may happen here, 
any way, I shall give advertisement to your 
Lordship. I have little resort to me ; my house 
is furnished with sufficient company. Arbell 
walks not late ; at such time as she shall take 
the air, it shall be near the house and well at- 
tended on ; she goeth not to anybody^s house at 
all; I see her almost every hour in the day; 
she lieth in my bedchamber. If I can be more 
precise than I have been, I wiU be. I am bound 
in nature to be careftd for Arbell ; I find her 
loving and dutiful to me, nor more by me 
regarded than to accomplish her Majesty's 

I592-] Lady Arabella Stuart 121 

pleasure^ and that which I think may be for 
her service. I wonld rather wish many deaths^ 
than to see this, or any such like wicked attempt, 
to prevail. 

" About a year since, there was one Harrison, 
a seminary, that lay at his brother^s house about 
a mile from Hardwick, whom I thought then to 
have^ caused to been apprehended and to have sent 
him up, but found he had license for a time. 
Notwithstanding, the seminary soon after, went 
from his brother^s, finding how much discontent 
I was with his lying so near me. Since my coming 
now into the country, I had some intelligence 
that the same seminary was come again to his 
broLher^s house, my son William Cavendish went 
thither of a sudden to make search for him, but 
could not find him. I write thus much to your 
Lordship, that if any such traitorous and 
naughty persons (through her Majesty's cle- 
mency) be suflered to go abroad, that they may 
not harbour near my houses, Wingfield, Hard- 
wick, nor Chatsworth in Derbyshire ; they are 
the likest instruments to put a bad matter in 

" One Morley, who hath attended on Arbell 
and read to her for the space of three years and 
a half, showed to be much discontented since my 
return into the country, in saying he had lived 


122 Life and Letters of [1592. 

in hope to have some annuity granted him by 
Arbell out of her land during his life, or some 
lease of ground to the value of forty pound a 
year, alleging that he was so much damnified by 
leaving of the University, and now saw that if 
she were willing, yet not of ability, to make him 
any such assurance. I, understanding by divers 
that Morley was so much discontented, and withal 
of late having some cause to be doubtfiil of his 
forwardness in religion (though I cannot charge 
him with Papistry), took occasion to part with 
him. After he was gone from my house, and 
all his stuff carried from him, the next day he 
returned again, very importunate to serve without 
standing upon any recompense, which made me 
more suspicious, and the more willing to part with 
him. I have another in my house, who will 
supply Morley^s place very well for the time. 
I will have those that shall be sufficient in learn- 
ing, honest and weU-disposed, so near as I can. 
I am enforced to use the hand of my son WiUiam 
Cavendish, not being able to write so much my- 
self, for fear of bringing yet great pain to my 
head. He only is privy to your Lordship's 
letter, and neither Arbell, nor any other living, 
nor shall be. 

" I beseech your Lordship, I may be directed 
from you as occasion shall fall out. To the utter- 

159a.]' Lady Arabella Stuart. 123 

most ol my understanding, I liave been and will 
be careful. I beseech the Almighty to send your 
Lordship a long and happy life, and so I will com- 
mit your Lordship to his protection. — From my 
house at Hardwick the 21st of September, 1592. 
" Your Lordship^s as I am bound, 

''E. Shrewsbury. 

" To'«the Right Honorable my very good Lord, 
the Lord Burghley,Lord Treasurer of England." 

Another cause for alarm and suspicion now 
appeared in the shape of Father Parson's book 
on the Succession. Queen Mary's priests, as the 
RomanCaiholicswere called, had, since the reigji of 
EUzabeth, been forbidden to practise their worship 
openly, or to maintain any university in England. 
To compensate for this, the English Catholics, at 
the instigation of a zealous priest, named AUen, 
had established a college at Douay for the edu- 
cation of missionaries, and some time after. 
Pope Gregory XIII., opened a similar college for 
the Jesuits at B.ome. Father AUen then be- 
sought Mercurianus, the chief of the Jesuits at 
Some, to send some of his order to the benighted 
English, and accordingly the two cleverest of* 
the English students at the Roman coUege, viz., 
Robert Parsons and Edward Campion,* were sent 
to England, there to practise every art, to turn 

124 Life and Letters of [i594- 

the English from their heretic Queen, and con- 
vince them that, even legally, the Tudors were 
about the last who had any claim to reign over 
them. In this last endeavour. Parsons was pre- 
eminent, and in 1594 he published, under the 
name of Richard Dolman, a book on the Succes- 
sion, which, abused as it has been, we may safely 
say has been carefully studied — and used — by 
every historian of this period. 

In this book Parsons so remorselessly laid 
open the arguments of the various pretenders to 
the crown, as to kindle the greatest alarm in the 
mind of the King of Scotland. Arabella's claims 
were fully discussed, and though not allowed, 
yet the effect was to bring her prominently 
before the public, and show to the princes of 
Europe, that if Father Parsons did not uphold her 
right, so many did, that it was a subject of im- 
portance, and by no means unworthy of the atten- 
tion of any Catholic prince who had any designs on 
the English throne. At the same time, the Duke 
of Sessa wrote to the King of Spain, that the 
Pope suspected the Queen of England of treating 
with the Beamois (Henry IV.) to repudiate his 
*wife, and marry Arabella,* and thus introduce 
him to the English Succession.* (July 13, 1596). 

James could bear it no longer. " He wrote to 
* State Papers, Scot., lix., fol. 6, MS. 

J596.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 125 

the King of Spain, offering to form a league with 
him and make war on Elizabeth, and even become 
a Roman Catholic, if Philip would only guarantee 
his succession. Among other causes of offence 
alleged by James, as reasons for making war^ 
two are especially notable, viz., 1st, ^^ The Act of 
Parliament passed by the English in the states of 
England a little before the condenmation and 
death of the Queen his mother, when it was 
enacted, that no person or persons might inherit 
the crown of England, that were descended from 
the kindred of such as had been condemned for 
conspiring against the Queen^ the which Act was 
manifestly made to exclude the said King of 
Scotland from the succession to the crown of 

No greater folly could have been perpetrated 
by James, than in thus emphatically pointing out 
this Act to the friend of Parma. K the fact of his 
being a descendant of a conspirator were the only 
barrier to his succession, then, Vithout necessity 
of plotting, the crown would devolve on Arabella, 
and if Philip ceded the claims of the Infanta as 
hopeless, it was far more likely that he would 
prefer to see Famese, a friend, and possible tool 
of his own, on the English throne — a plan that 

* Winwood, i., p. i. Butler's ** Roman Catholics," where 
the authenticity of this proposal is discussed. 

126 Life and Letters of [}59^' 

would also prevent the dreaded union of Eng- 
land "witli Scotland. After some more accusations^ 
among which occurs that of Elizabeth^s '^ causing 
the said King to be three or four times taken into 
custody" James declares '^ that the said Queen 
of England never would give the said King his 
father's estate that belonged to him in England^ 
nor would she deliver up to him Arbella, his 
uncle's daughter, to be married to the Duke of 
Lenox in Scotland, at the time when the said 
King, having no issue, intended to make the said 
Duke, his successor, heir to the crown of Scotland, 
at which time the Queen uttered very harsh 
words, and of much contempt, against the King 
of Scotland/' * 

But though the Spanish party were possessed 
with the idea that Lord Burghley would support 
the claims of Arabella on the death of Elizabeth, 
and declared that he even intended to marry 
her to his own son, there appears to have been no 
reason to suppose the nation at large acknow- 
ledged this view. The different parties, blinded 
by their feelings, made a bugbear where none 
existed, and we can best judge of the state of 
the English people by the words of a calm, dis- 
passionate observer of the time, viz., Henry IV. 
of France. 

* Win wood, i. 

1596. ] Lady Arabella Stuart. 127 

'^ The King/' says Sully, " began to consider 
mth me what princess of Europe he should 
choose for his wife, in case his marriage with 
Margaret of Valois were dissolved. 'I should 
have no objection (said he) to the Infanta of Spain, 
provided that with her I could marry the Low 
Countries; neither would I refuse the Princess 
Arabella of England, if, since it is publicly said 
the crown of England really belongs to her, she 
were only declared presumptive heiress of it. 
But there is no reason to expect that either of 
these things will happen.' ''* 

The agony of James was at length calmed by 
the Danish Court, who, like Henry, saw that 
. James was only injuring his cause by excitement, 
and advised him not to press his title, so long as 
Elizabeth lived, and by no means offend her.f 
Reports, however, of the intended marriage of 
Arabella, now to Henry IV., now to the Duke 
Mathias, kept him on the rack. He dreaded her 
marriage with any foreigner, under the belief 
that, in that age of ambition, no husband would 
allow her pretensions to sleep ; but that she 
herself was indifferent to a crown, never once 
entered his head. When the report of her pro- 
posed marriage to Duke Mathias reached him, be 

• Sully's " Memoirs," ii. p. 70. 
t State Papers, Scot., Ixiii., fol. 66, MS. 

128 Life and Letters of [1600. 

expressed his disbelief in it, '^ and/' says George 
Nicolas, writing to Sir Robert Cecil, Feb. 16th, 
1600, ^^ he does not mistrust her Majesty's mean- 
ing on that point towards him, her Majesty having 
promised never to do any thing to his hurt/'* 

Meanwhile, the friends of Arabella seem to 
have acted with the utmost prudence. They 
appear to have held no communication with any 
of those who were so eager to put her forward as 
a candidate for the Succession, and though it was 
reported that Arabella herself had no objection 
whatever to become a Catholic and go to Spain, 
and had even commissioned agents to treat with 
the continental princes on the subject of marriage, 
there is not the slightest evidence of the truth of 
the report. The fate of Lady Jane Grey and 
Mary Stuart were too fresh in remembrance for so 
prudent a schemer as Bess, and she never suffered 
the slightest cause for suspicion of her, or Ara- 
bella's, loyalty to Queen Elizabeth. Among the 
new year's presents to the Queen for the year 
1600 we find the following : — 

^^ By the Countes of Shrewesbury t — a gowne 
of white sattin, leyed on with pasmane of golde, 
the vemewyse lyned with strawe collored Jar- 
ceonet — delivered to Rauf Hoope." 

* State Papers, Scot., Ixvi., fol. 11, MS. 
t The wife of Gilbert. 

i6oo.] Lady Arabella Stuart 129 

'^ January 1st, 1600. — ^By the Barrones Ar- 
bella — one skarfe or head-vaile of lawne cut-worke, 
florished with silver 'and silke of sondry colors/^ 

The terms on which Arabella and the Shrews- 
burys were with the Queen may be gathered by 
the following letter from Lady Staflford, with a 
present to Arabella from the Queen : — 

The Lady Dorothy Stafford to the Countess of 

" Right honorable and my very good Lady, — 
' I have, according to the purport of your honorable 

Letters, presented your Ladyship^s New Year's 
gift, together with my Lady Arbella's, to the 
Queen's Majesty, who hath very graciously ac- 
cepted thereof, and taken an especial liking to 
} mj Lady Arbella's. It pleased her Majesty to tell 

me that, whereas, in former letters of your 
Ladyship's, your desire was that her Majesty 
would have that respect of my Lady Arbella, 
I that she might be careftdly bestowed to her 

Majesty's good liking; that, according to the 
contents of those letters, her Majesty told me, 
that she would be careful of her, and withal both 
returned a token to my Lady Arbella, which is 
> not so good as I could wish it, nor so good as 

f her Ladyship deserveth, in respect of the rareness 

of that which she sent unto her Majesty. But 

i VOL. I. K 

130 Life and Letters of [1601. 

I beseech you^ good Madam^ seeing it pleased 
her Majesty to say so much unto me touching 
her care of my Lady ArbeUa, that your Lady- 
ship will vouchsafe me so much favour as to keep 
it to yourself, not making any other acquainted 
with it, but rather repose the trust in me for to 
take my opportunity for putting her Majesty in 
mind thereof, I will do as carefully as I can. 
And thus being always bound to your Ladyship 
for your honorable kindness toward me, I 
humbly commit your Ladyship to the safe pro- 
tection of Almighty God. 

''From Westmins., this 13th of January, 1600.'' 

Nothing could put a stop to the intrigues of 
the Catholics, strengthened and encouraged as 
they were by the wishes and counsels of Pope 
Clement VIII. Still the plotting went on, and still 
the innocent victim was charged with being a 
party ; for it was difficult to believe that a person 
supposed to benefit the most by a' conspiracy 
should be the one in reality totally free from any 
such intention. The Queen's frowns grew darker, 
and Arabella was almost banished from Court. The 
prohibition to discuss the Succession at home 
drove many abroad, where they were eagerly 
received by the Pope, and encouraged in de- 
signs that appeared more mighty when backed 
by a foreign prince. Though the spies of Eliza- 

i6oi.] Lady Arabella Stuart 131 

beth^ probably, greatly magnified the danger to 
her, in order, like all of their class, to increase 
their own importance, and enhance the price of 
their information, still the clearest proof exists, 
that it was not without cause that the Catholics 
were accused of tampering with foreign powers 
for the subjugation of their country to the Pope. 
The following letter from Cardinal D'Ossat, the 
plenipotentiary of Henry IV. of Prance, at Bome, 
lays bare the conduct of the English Catholics, 
the Pope, and the King of Spain. It may be 
relied on as safe evidence. D^Ossat had not the 
'slightest cause for misrepresenting the truth. 
Though a Roman Catholic, he speaks with any- 
thing but reverence of his Holiness ; he was in no 
way bound to either Rome, Spain, or England, 
and had the strongest motives for telling the 
simple truth to the least prejudiced monarch of 
the age. His position, too, gave him every 
facility for acquiring an accui^ate knowledge 
of the events that he transmitted to his master. 

Letter of the Cardinal jyOssat to Henry IV. 
of France,* 

^^ SiB, — I have heretofore, upon occasion, writ 

* This letter is taken from a translation made by Birch 
in the Sloane MSS. The original may be found among th& 
collected letters of Cardinal D'Ossat. 

K 2 

132 Life and Letters of [160 r, 

to your Majesty, that the Pope had some intent 
to prefer the Cardinal Famese to the Succession 
of the Crown of England, after the decease of the 
Queen now reigning. Then, perceiving this reso- 
lution was not liked on that side, I lately, upon 
another occasion, writ to your Majesty, that I 
would send you an express of it by itself, which 
now, God willing, I shall perform by this. 

'^ The Pope first thought of the Duke of Parma, 
as the elder brother, and his ally, and will do it 
the first, and it only, if his Holiness perceives the 
kingdom of England can be obtained without Ar- 
bella. But if, after the Queen's decease, Arbella 
should raise a strong party in England, and 
that, for the easier conquest of the Klingdom, it 
were necessary to join his forces with Arbella^s ; 
then, in this case, because he cannot treat of a 
marriage betwixt Arbella, and the Duke of Parma, 
already married, the Pope intends, instead of the 
Duke of Parma, to bring in the Cardinal, his 
brother, who might marry the said Arbella, and 
by those means, they, both joining their forces, 
would sooner, and easier compass their designs. 
And it was by occasion of the said Arbella, that I 
made the first mention of the Cardinal Farnese 
in a letter of mine of the 27th of March last. 
Now, because in all such matters there must be a 
shew and colour of justic b, it is pretended, that 

i6oi.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 133 

these two princes by their mother^s side are de- 
scended from the true and lawful kings of England, 
and have some right of succession to the kingdom, 
without which pretence I believe the Pope had 
never thought of them. And now it may please 
your Majesty to remember that, in the year 1594, 
there was a book set forth in English, which the 
Spaniards got writ by a Jesuit called Parsons, 
and was spread through England, the Low 
Countries, and everywhere else where they thought 
the said book might further their intentions, 
which have been, and are still, to persuade the 
world that many hundred years since there hath 
been neither king nor queen lawful in England, 
being all excluded by the said book, because they 
were tainted with treason, or disinherited, or 
bastards, or heretics, or the like, and by conse- 
quence excluded also from the Succession to the 
said kingdom. After the Queen^s death, all those 
that now are of the blood-royal of England, and 
such as are of next kin to the said Queen, as 
the Kjng of Scotland, and Arbella, which are the 
nearest, and then the Earls of Derby, Hertford, 
and Hastings, and the Lords Arthur, and Galfrid 
Pole, to whom the said book doth nevertheless 
object some particular fault to exclude them all 
so much the more from the Succession, besides 

134 Life and Letters of [1601. 

those which he supposes to have been in them, 
that have reigned in these later times. 

'^ After this fine book hath so excluded from 
the crown of England all Scottish and English, it 
strives to shew that the true right of Succes- 
sion is fallen unto the late King of Spain and 
his children, bringing him in divers ways, and 
affirming, that the house of Portugal came by the 
Lady Philippa, daughter of John of Gaunt, son 
to King Edward III., and Blanche, only daughter 
:and heir of Lancaster, who was the third son of 
Edmund, second son to Henry III., King of 
England, the which Lady Philippa was married 
to John, the First King of Portugal. The same 
book doth also pretend that all the Princesses of 
the House of Portugal unto this day are come of 
the said marriage. Now saith the books, all the 
rights and pretentions of the house of Britannia 
are fallen unto the Infanta of Spain, married to 
the Archduke Albertus, wherefore the rights of 
Succession to the crown of England also belong 
i;o the said Infanta, to whom he annexes the 
pretended rights two other ways specified in the 
hook. He saith likewise that all the rights and 
pretentions of the house of Portugal are founded 
upon the person of the late King of Spain, 
Philip II., and to his children, therefore to him 
and to his children doth this day belong the Sue- 

i6oi.] Lady Arabella Stuart 135 

cession of the kingdom of England. And although 
the said propositidn that is inferred from it be 
mightily strained, and, as it were, drawn by the 
hairs against all right and custom, and be for the 
most part false, yet, as your Majesty knows very 
well, the late King of Spain made always great 
account of it, and bent all his thoughts that way, 
as doth to this day the King of Spain, his son. 
And to that purpose it is that the Spaniards 
make so much of the English that are forced out 
of the kingdom for religion, and fled, not only 
into the Low Countries and Spain, but also unto 
Prance, Italy, and everywhere else ; allowing them 
pensions and giving them many other gratuities, 
especially to those of whom they hope to get 
some notable service either through their nobility, 
kindred, or allies, or by their courage and valour. 
To that intent also are purposely erected by the 
Spaniards, the Colleges and Seminaries for the Eng- 
lish at Douay and St. Omer, wherein are received 
young gentlemen of the best families of England, 
that by their means their kindred and friends in 
that kingdom may have an obligation laid upon 
them. And the chief care that is taken in these 
Colleges and Seminaries is that the young 
English gentlemen be catechised, nurtured, and 
brought up in the belief and strong faith that 
the late King of Spain had, and his children now 

136 Life and Letters of [1601. 

have, the true right of Succession to the crown 
of England, and that it must necessarily be so for 
the good of the Catholic Religion, not only in 
England but also through all Christendom. And 
when these young English gentlemen have done 
their studies in humanity and are come to a 
certain age, then, to make them up complete 
Spaniards, they are transported from the Low 
Countries into Spain, where they have other 
Colleges for them, and are there instructed in 
Philosophy and Divinity, and confirmed in the 
said belief and holy faith that the kingdom of 
England did belong to the late King Philip the 
Second, and doth at this day belong unto his 
children ; and after these young English gentle- 
men have so finished their course of studies, 
those of them which are known to be the per- 
fectest Spaniards, and most zealous and firm, to 
the Spanish Credo, are sent into England, tliere to 
plant that faith and win to it such as have not 
stirred from the country, as also to spy and give 
notice to the Spaniards of what passes in Eng- 
land, and their best advice concerning that which 
they think ought and may be done to bring it 
under the power of Spain, and likewise, if need 
be, to sufier martyrdom as well or rather for the 
Spanish faith than the Catholic religion. The 
Spanish forces heretofore and lately sent into 

i6oi.] Lady Arabella Stuart 137 

Ireland are to this end as well in the meantime to 
take what they can from the Queen as to make it 
a bridge for themselves to go sometimes over into 
England. Besides^ they are commodions of going 
or sending from the Low Countries, from whence 
there is but a short cut into England, as also 
from the coasts of Portugal, Galicia and Biscay, 
and by reason of the great number of ships that 
they have in all those places. 

'^ But with all these ambitious designs, the 
Spaniards do foresee a main hindrance as well 
from the English themselves as from the King 
of Scotland, with his allies and confederates, and 
the Hollanders, but especially from France, and 
therefore, say they, the King of Spain will not 
have England for himself, Ijut for his sister the 
Infanta, or some other Prince, whom we shall 
not suspect. And so have they persuaded the Pope 
(his Holiness at least makes a shew as if he be- 
lieved it), but the plain truth is, that the King 
of Spain will have England to himself, and if he 
cannot get it because of the resistance, he wishes 
that the kingdom may come to his sister, or, if 
she fails, to some prince of his blood, who being 
helped by him may acknowledge himself beholden 
to him for that kingdom, and be altogether at 
his devotion against all others, and especially 
against your Majesty and France, to whom the 

1 38 Life and Letters of [1601, 

Spaniards have not only emulation but a 
mortal hatred. 

^' The Pope (now to speak of his Holiness) and 
his designs concerning the princes of Farma^ * 

foreseeing and believing the said opposition which 
is likely to be made against the King of Spain 
and his sister, doth imagine that he may soon 
bring it about to make the Duke of Parma, or 
the Cardinal Famese, his brother. King of Eng- 
land after the Queen's decease, according to the 
distinction which I made at the beginning of this 
letter in respect to Arbella. Your Majesty will 
be easily persuaded that he wishes them that 
greatness, because of their alliance with him; 
and besides that, they are strong Catholics, and 
held to be good mpderate princes, and in it his 
Holiness would think he did a work well pleasing 
to God and profitable to the Catholic religion. 
But what ground hath the Pope for compassing * 

about his hopes ? Indeed, he grounds himself 
upon many things, and first upon the said colour 
of justice, that these two princes are descended 1 

from the house of Portugal by Mary their mother, 
who was the eldest daughter of Edward, Infant 
of Portugal, and son to King Emanuel, adding ' 

to this the aforesaid proposition, that the true 
right of Succession to the crown of England be 
devolved to the house of Portugal. And as the 

1 6o I . ] Lady A rahella Stuart. 139 

new Duke of Parma, who was called Renutio, 
had a pretention to the Succession of the king- 
dom of Portugal after the death of the Cardinal 
Henry, and that before the King of Spain, so is 
it now pretended that either he or the Cardinal 
Pamese, his brother, ought to succeed to the 
crown of England, in case at the least that the 
King of Spain be not able to get the said king- 
dom for himself or his sister, and as it is 
thought by most it will be impossible for him ; 
and now this is all the shew of justice which 
gives a colour and pretext to the design, and 
might incline a party of the English to accept of 
either of these two. As for the forces and 
means to maintain this right, such a one as it 
is, against those who would oppose it, the Pope is 
of opinion that the King of Spain, finding him- 
self unable to do anything either for himself or 
his sister, will easily be persuaded to employ his 
so mighty forces, and all that the late King his 
father hath left unto him, either of intelligences 
or interests, with a good many of the English, 
won at divers times and in many ways fox the 
advancing one of the said princes of the house 
of Parma, who are his cousins german once 
removed and professed servants. His Holiness 
believes also that the Archdukes in the Low 
Countries will do the like when they perceive 

140 Life and Letters of [1601. 

they can do nothing for themselves; and that 
besides the nobility^ the gentry, cities, and peoples 
of the Low Countries, will favour these two 
brethren of the house of Parma, by reason that 
the said Low Countries have been governed with 
a great deal of lenity, first by the Lady of Parma, 
their grandmother, who did never consent that 
the Earls of Egmont and Horn should be put 
to death, and since by the Duke Alexander 
their father, who left behind him a very good 
name in those countries, and obliged an infinite 
number of persons, and among them many Eng- 
lish fied thither for a refuge. His Holiness is 
also resolved to help these two princes with all 
his strength of spiritual and temporal, and all 
his credit and authority with the princes, cities, 
and peoples that are Catholic. It is about four 
years since his Holiness created a certain arch 
priest, to whom all the ecclesiastics and Catholics 
of the said kingdom might resort and address 
themselves, and understand what is best to 
be done for their preservation and the re- 
establishing of the Catholic religion. And his 
Holiness is persuaded by some, that this is the 
likeliest way to make the English Catholics for- 
ward in the eflTecting of his desires. And I can 
assure your Majesty that his Holiness hath of late 
sent three briefs to the nuncio whom he keeps in 

i6oi.] Lady Arabella Stuart 141 

the Low Countries, which are to be concealed till 
he heareth news of the Queen^s death, and then to 
be sent over into England, the one to the clergy, 
the second to the nobility, and the third to the 
canons, according to the several directions of the 
said brief, by which the three estates of England 
are admonishjed and exhorted to stand united 
together, for the receiving a Catholic King whom 
his Holiness will name unto them, such as they 
shall think most pleasing, profitable, and honour- 
able, and all this for the honour and glory of 
God, the re-establishing the Catholic religion, and 
the salvation of their souls. 

" I have heretofore told your Majesty how his 
Holiness hath given to the Cardinal Famese the 
protection of England void by the death of the 
Cardinal Cajetan, that all the English Catholics 
who are in these parts, or have any business in 
this court, may resort to him and give him 
occasion of doing them good, and winning the 
good liking and opinion of that nation. 

" I have also heretofore made known to your 
Majesty how the said Cardinal Famese keeps in 
his service Arthur Pole, who is of royal blood of 
England, and that the said Arthur is to make a 
voyage into England the next spring by consent, 
if not by commission, of his master and the Pope 
himself. There may be many things and more 

142 Life and Letters of [1601. 

tending to tils design which we know not, for 
they do what they can to keep them close, and who 
knows but the Duke of Parma^s journey to the 
Court of Spain and into Portugal may be to that 
intent, especially if it be true that is said here, that 
in his return he is to go through France ? Now 
besides that his Holiness will help these two 
princes with all his means, and will get them others^ 
help, he thinks that in those princes from whom he 
can get no aid for them, he shall at the least 
diminish the resistance and opposition which other- 
wise they would make against them, and because 
your Majesty^s opposition is most of all to be 
feared, his Holiness thinks he hath deserved and 
may hereafter deserve in many occasions so much 
from your Majesty that if you will not help his 
allies, at the least you do not oppose them, and 
hath such confidence in your Majesty, that upon 
it without coming to any particulars he hath 
already sent you word by the Cardinal that he 
wishes your Majesty and the King of Spain 
would agree about a third, a Catholic prince, to 
make him King of England after the Queen^s 
decease. And though your Majesty made them 
some favorable answer for the King of Scotland, 
yet his Holiness is in hope that your Majesty 
will be persuaded by reason of State not to fur- 
ther the conjunction of the kingdoms of Eng- 

i6oi.] Lady Arabella Stuart 143 

land and Scotland in one person, considering 
what great damage the English alone have some- 
times done to the French more than all other 
nations together, besides that the King of Scotland 
is a near kinsman and friend to the princes of the 
house of Lorraine, who have grown many in num- 
ber and too great in power through the want of fore- 
sight and the too great frailty of our late Kings, 
and have lately invaded almost all France, it 
being to be feared that they will never leave that 
desire by reason of that inbred opinion of theirs 
that the third race of our Kings, beginning with 
Hugh Capet, hath usurped the kingdom of 
France from them, and that the crown of France 
doth of right belong to the house of Lorraine, 
descending as they pretend, though falsely, from 
Charlemagne. Hence his Holiness draws this 
opinion, that your Majesty will rather admit for 
King of England the Duke of Parma, or the 
Cardinal Famese his brother, who have nothing 
near England, neither in nor near France, than 
the King of Scotland or the archduke, or any 
such. And howbeit these two princes of Parma 
are of kin and servants to the King of Spain, his 
Holiness doth nevertheless believe your Majesty 
wiU on the other side consider that they are his 
allies, and are not of the worst nor of the nearest, 
nor the best pleased with the King of Spain, and 

144 Life and Letters of [1601. 

that this house of Parma hath sometimes been 
under the protection of the crown of France. 
He would also persuade us that they have lost 
neither the memory nor the gratitude of it, what 
seeming soever they have been reduced and 
forced to by the necessity of the times. And 
indeed the Cardinal Famese, in the answer to a 
letter that I had writ him upon the birth of my 
Lord the Dauphin, did not forget, among other 
occasions of his joy, to mention the obligations 
which their house had to the crown of France, as 
lie may perhaps have done in the letter which he 
writ to your Majesty upon the subject. To these, 
many other things may be added, as that, when 
either of them should be made King of England, 
he would not so much observe the will and interest 
of the King of Spain, as think of establishing him- 
self and keeping fair with his neighbours, and with 
your Majesty, who might more than any other 
annoy or help him. 

'^ Now, sir, these are the considerations which 
made me believe the probability of this design of 
the Pope, since the first time that I was told it 
from a very good place, and because I had divers 
times touched of it in my former letters. I have 
now gathered them all in this, adding to them 
what I have learned since, and this is to perform 
my promise of writing a letter of these things by 


- i6oi.] Lady Arabella Stuart 145 

itself. Whatsoever this be, it caniiot but con- 
duce to the good of your Majesty to be ad- 
vertised of what may come to pass, that so you 
may provide a good while before, in a business of 
so great importance, and be ready upon all 

" To this I can add nothing but assure your 
Majesty that in all this I did not intend to 
intrude myself to give any advice, directly or in- 
directly, concerning the Succession of England, 
much less which way it is fit for your Majesty 
to incline, but only to shew the considerations, 
which may have moved the Pope to think upon 
these two brethren, and if I have writ upon it 
heretofore, it hath not been without some ground 
for it. 

" Prom Rome, the 26th of November, 1601.'' * 

* For an extract from a curious Italian MS. on this sub- 
ject in possession of Sir Thomas Phillipps. See Appendix ii. 2. 

VOL. I. 

146 Life and Letters of [1601. 



HE Right Divine of Kings'' is a 
plirase singularly inappropriate to 
be used in our country. From the 
days when the old Celtic Princes stained the 
forest leaves with blood in their struggles for the 
Right by Power, through ages that followed of 
Roman, Saxon, Danish, and Norman rulers, the 
proud English people have laughed at Royalty as 
in iany way connected with Divinity. Even the 
laws of primogeniture have been constantly dis- 
regarded, and so lightly have they been held, 
that, in the early Norman days, the eldest son 
was as coolly set aside when he had com- 
mitted no fault, as when his crimes demanded 
such a punishment. The right of the son to 
succeed his father in his grandfather's heritage 
was a matter of grave dispute, and frequently 
decided in favour of the father's brother, as a 
nearer relation to the grandfather than the grand- 
json. By the time of Edward III., however, the 

i6oi.] Lady Arabella Stuart 147 

crown of England had become so firmly settled 
on him, that all other pretenders sank in ob- 
scnrity, and it was among his descendants alone 
that the future claimants arose. Of all sub- 
jects genealogies are, perhaps, the most weari- 
some, and much patience is required to leave the 
present actions of men, and wander into shadowy 
regions with no other purpose than to disen- 
tangle a mass of names. Yet this uninteresting 
task must be performed by all who would gain a 
clear idea of the history of England, and is 
especially necessary to the comprehension of the 
present volumes. From the sons of Edward III., 
and especially of John of Gaunt, came the con- 
flicting claims that for centuries plunged England 
into civil war, that gave excuses for foreign inva- 
sion, and hung a terror over every king that sat 
upon the throne. These kings knew the defects 
in their titles, and that they reigned, not by any 
infallible authority, but by the suflerance of their 
subjects, and were careful in their most outra- 
geous moments to show due reverence to the 
real power that upheld them. It was reserved 
for the weak brain of a Stuart to pass this 
limit, and what was the consequence all the 
world knows. 

Leaving those sons of Edward III. who died 
without issue, five remain, viz. : — 

L 2 

148 Life and Letters of [1601. 

1. Edward, the Black Prince. 

2. Lionel, Duke of Clarence. 

3. John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. 

4. Edmund Langley, Duke of York. 

5. Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester. 
The line of the Black Prince being extinct at 

the death of Kichard II., according to the laws 
of primogeniture, the next heir would be found 
among the descendants of Lionel, Duke of 
Clarence. Like the Black Prince, Lionel died 
before his father, leaving an only child, a 
daughter, Philippa, who married Edward Mor- 
timer, Earl of March. Her granddaughter 
married the son of Edmund Langley, Duke of 
York, and thus brought her claim to the house 
of York, where it slept, doubtless disturbed by 
many dreams, till the reign of Henry VI. 

According to all modern ideas of hereditary 
succession, the house of York, or as it should be 
called, the house of Clarence, had the undoubted 
right; but, according to the opinion that the 
nearest relation to the king ought to succeed 
him, then John of Gaunt was the true heir to 
Edward III. after the death of the Black Prince 
and the Duke of Clarence. So well aware were 
the Black Prince and the King of this feeling, 
that the Black Prince exacted from his father a 
promise that, in case of his death, his son Richard 

i5oi.] Lady Arabella Stuart 149 

should succeed him, to the exclusion of John of 
Gaunt; and on the death of the Black Prince, 
the King deemed it necessary to procure an Act 
of Parliament by which Richard was declared 
his successor. But though John of Gaunt 
yielded, in the opinion of many Richard was 
only a usurper of his uncle's throne, and conse- 
quently when, before the death of Richard, Henry 
Bolingbroke assumed the throne, in the general 
opinion he claimed nothing but his right, seeing 
that, if John of Gaunt had been king, Boling- 
broke would have been the lawful heir to the 
crown. John of Gaunt was married three times, 
and it was by the descendants of his three wives 
that the claims of the house of Lancaster became 
so multiplied, and were even carried into foreign 
countries and vested in foreign princes. 

The first wife of John of Gaunt was his cousin 
Blanche, daughter of the Duke of Lancaster, who, 
inheriting her father's title, brought it to her 
husband, and thus John of Gaunt became Duke 
of Lancaster. By Blanche he had three children, 
viz., Henry Bolingbroke, who succeeded him, and 
two daughters, viz., Philippa, who was married 
to John I. of Portugal, and Elizabeth, who was 
married to John Holland, Duke of Exeter. On 
the extinction of the line of Bolingbroke by the 
murder of Prince Edward, son to Henry VI., 

150 . Life and Letters of [i6oi. 

the descendants of Philippa, the Portuguese 
queen, claimed the English crown. 

But another race existed. On the death of 
Blanche, John of Gaunt had married Constance, 
the daughter and heir of Peter the Cruel of 
Castile, and as he had taken the title of Duke of 
Lancaster from his first wife, he now assumed 
that of King of Castile from his second. By 
Constance of Castile he had one daughter, 
Catherine, who marrying Henry III. of Castile, 
became the mother of the line of Isabella the 
Catholic, and thus of Philip II., who claimed a 
direct descent from John of Gaunt. 

The third wife of John of Gaunt was 
Catherine Swynford, a Flemish woman of no 
family, who became the mistress of John of Gaunt, 
and the mother of three illegitimate sons, viz. 
John, Duke of Somerset, Thomas, Marquis of 
Dorset and Duke of Exeter, and Henry, Bishop 
of Winchester and Cardinal; and one daughter, 
who married the Earl of Westmoreland. On 
the marriage of John of Gaunt with Catherine 
Swynford, he obtained an Act of Parliament to 
legitimatize these four children, and they thus 
took their place among the claimants to the crown, 
certainly, we might think, with a very poor chance 
of success. Yet, to the exclusion of the legiti- 
mate descendants of the other wives, the des- 

i.6oi.] Lady Arabella Stuart 151 

cendant of John, Duke of Somerset, Henry Tudor, 
Earl of Eichmond, claimed and obtained the 
English crown ; and though he strengthened his 
claim by his alliance with Elizabeth, representa- 
tive of York, it must be remembered that he 
never asserted his right to the crown through 
her, or in any other way than as an heir of 
Lancaster, declaring that he ought to be pre- 
ferred before the descendants of John of Gaunt's 
first wives, seeing that he came from a son and 
they from a daughter of the duke. As the Duke 
of Somerset was never considered a lawful heir, 
even though afterwards legitimatized in England, 
a claim resting on such a statement must be 
pronounced doubtful, and certainly unjust. It 
was scarcely to be expected that the descend- 
ants of the two first wives should admit it, and 
as long as there was a party to the claims of 
Lancaster, the legitimate heir to that house was 
to be sought in the descendant of John of Gaunt^s 
first wife. That claim was now vested in a 
foreigner, and, like that of York, in the first 
days, was allowed to sleep awhile. It is remark- 
able that Henry VIII., who is by some considered 
to have divorced his first wife, and married his 
third the very day after the execution of his 
second, for no other motive than that of leaving 
the English Succession fr*ee from difficulties. 

152 Life and Letters of [1601. 

should have been the very man to have fearfully 
added to them, and inserted another knot in the 
already tangled skein. 

On the death of his three children without 
issue, the crown came naturally to the descend- 
ants of his eldest sister, Margaret, to whom Henry 
had an intense personal dislike. Yet, for no better 
reason than this dislike, one of Henry^s last acts 
was to make a will leaving the Succession (after 
the deaths of his own children without issue) 
to the descendants of his younger sister Mary, 
who was a favourite, thus entailing a possible 
civil war and certain jealousy on the unhappy 
descendants of the two sisters. I shall enlarge 
more fully on the fate of one of the victims to 
this act of the patriotic monarch in another 
chapter. The people of England were made of 
sterner material than to be left by the testament 
of any king as so many goods and chattels, but the 
result of the will of Henry VIII. was hatred, im- 
prisonment, and death to individuals, and afforded 
a precedent to his son Edward VI., who, ra his turn, 
left the crown to his favourite. Lady Jane Grey. 

As regards the English Succession (I speak of 
that alone), no more politic match could have 
been formed than that of Philip II. and Mary. 
It was the true union of the houses of York and 
Lancaster. Mary was the direct representative 

i6oi.] Lady Arabella Stuart 153 

of the house of York through her grandmother ; 
Philip was a lineal descendant, by his mother, the 
eldest daughter of the King of Portugal, of 
Blanche, first wife of John of Gaunt, and, by his 
father, of Constance, the second wife. It is true 
that he was not the acknowledged heir of the 
last King of Portugal, as that monarch had left 
a younger son, but, as far as consanguinity went, 
the foundation on which the house of Lancaster 
had always rested their claims, he was the true 
representative, and a child of Philip and Mary 
would have had a greater claim to the English 
throne, on every hereditary ground, than any 
king since the time of Edward III. If, however, 
the Succession to the crown of Portugal were 
traced in the male line, then the direct descend- 
ant of Blanche of Lancaster, first wife of John 
of Gaunt, was Ranuzio, Duke of Parma, to whom 
the Pope had the first idea of marrying Arabella 
Stuart, and who was willing to renounce his claims 
in favour of his brother the Cardinal. It was 
therefore not without grounds that Farnese laid 
claim to the English crown, nor that Elizabeth 
saw in his pretensions the rallying point for a 
league against her, and in this state of affairs 
it was perfectly just that Arabella should be 
forbidden to leave the kingdom, a mandate which 
she did not in the least dispute. With such 

154 Life and Letters of [1601. 

conspiracies and claims abroad^ and with so many- 
parties among the nobles at home, Elizabeth 
wisely turned to the true source of her strength, 
the only power that could possibly have carried 
her safely through the conflicting storms. When 
the ambassador of Philip reminded her of her 
obligations to him, she answered, " For her pre- 
sent prospects she was indebted neither to the 
king, nor to the English lords, however much 
these latter might vaunt their fidelity. It was 
to the people that she owed them, and on the 
people she relied/^ 

^' The Queen,'^ says Sir John Harrington, "did 
once ask my wife in merry sort how she kept my 
good wiU and love, which I did always maintain 
to be truly good, towards her and my childrbn ? 
My Mall in wise and discreet manner told her 
Highness she had confidence in her husband^s 
understanding and courage, well founded on her 
own steadfastness not to offend or thwart, but to 
cherish and obey ; hereby she did persuade her 
husband of her own affections, and in so doing 
did command his. ' Go to, go to, mistress,^ said 
the Queen, 'you are wisely bent, I find; after 
such sort do I keep the goodwill of all my hus- 
bands, my good people, for if they did not rest 
assured of some special love toward them, they 
would not readily yield me such good obedience.' " 

i6oi.] Lady Arabella Stuart 155 

The most insidious enemies of Elizabeth were 
the Jesuits. They first came to England in the 
year 1580, and from that time distilled a secret 
poison over the length and breadth of the land. 
They entered by ^^ secret creeks and landing- 
places/^ and, clad in every species of disguise, 
insinuated themselves into every comer where they 
could .work mischief. Sometimes they appeared 
as soldiers or sailors, at others as private gentle- 
men, merchants, travellers from foreign parts, or 
^'gallants with feathers,^^ and clad in velvet. 
Among their employes were dissolute young men, 
who, either from poverty or crime, had become 
fugitives, and were ready to adopt the basest 
means to earn a livelihood without honest labour. 
Othfers were young Eoman Catholics, who, en- 
raged by the early persecutions of Elizabeth, and 
educated by her bitterest enemies, were persuaded 
that, to obey the mandates of the Pope against 
the Queen, was literally to serve (xod rather 
than Mammon ; and that, exerting their utmost 
against Antichrist in the person of the Queen, 
and endeavouring to place a Catholic, even though 
a foreigner, on her throne, was the purest way of 
serving God and their country. The means were 
sanctified by the end. Consequently it was 
deemed no disgrace by Englishmen to accept 
pensions and presents at the hands of the King 

156 Life and Letters of [ 1 6p i . 

of Spain and the Pope, nor any dishonour to 
obtain a footing by any amount of falsehood in 
private families, where, by means of eavesdropping, 
bribery, and cunning, the weak members were 
discovered and turned to foreign service. Armed 
with Papal bulls, and indulgences, and threats, 
they worked on the weaker minds of the commu- 
nity, and prepared them for the perpetration of 
the basest crimes. The Queen^s life was re- 
peatedly aimed at. A book was published ex- 
horting her women ^^ to commit the like against 
her that Judith did to Holofemes.^' She was 
shot at as she passed down the river in her barge. 
She was declared a usurper, whom it was a pious 
act to get rid of by any means. Her cooks were 
tempted to poison her; and (remembering • the 
recent murder of Henry III. of France by a 
Jesuit, and the subsequent similar fate of his 
successor, how, no farther back than the last 
reign, the Roman Catholics had held supreme 
power in England, and their overwhelming force 
on the Continent) Elizabeth may well be excused 
for many measures that in the present day would 
be the height of tyranny. The Protestant re- 
ligion has long been strong enough to stand 
without external aid in England. We want no 
laws to support it, no swords to defend it ; and 
so far from any courage being needed on its 

i6oi.] Lady Arabella Stuart 157 

behalf; we can insult with impunity the highest 
authority who dares to diflfer from it. 

But the days of Elizabeth were very different. 
Protestantism was in its infancy ; darkness and 
terror hung around its cradle, and its early pro- 
tectors may be pardoned, if amid the host of seen, 
and still greater host of unseen, but suspected 
dangers, they struck rather indiscriminately, and 
required pledges that were in reality not exacted 
by bigotry so much as by anxiety for the safety 
of the realm. The fires of Smithfield, the mas- 
sacre of St. Bartholomew, the autos-da-fi of 
Spain, the fiendish cruelties of Alva in the 
Netherlands, showed the spirit manifested by the 
Catholics towards the Protestants in the age of 
Elizabeth. What wonder if the latter felt that it 
was no time for half measures or for hesitation ? 
When we remember that the Catholics, by means 
of the Jesuits, were doing their very best to in- 
troduce into England the horrors perpetrated on 
the Continent, and that, by the murder of the King 
of France, they had proved no crime too great to 
be committed by them to promote their schemes^ 
we shall be more ready to admit that the perse- 
cution of the Catholics by Queen Elizabeth was 
in reality nothing but an act of self-defence, and 
therefore not for a moment to be compared with 
the bigoted cruelties of Mary and Philip. The 

158 Life and Letters of [1601. 

strongest of the weapons of the Jesuits was the 
disputed Succession to the crown. By this they 
hoped to split the kingdom into parties, and 
thereby weaken the allegiance to the Queen. 
By this they hoped to crown a puppet of the 
Pope, who would prove simply an agent to carry 
out all their schemes ; and the uncertainty as to 
how far Arabella Stuart was willing to play this 
part, or whether she was wholly innocent, was 
not experienced by Elizabeth alone. In 1601, 
Lord Henry Howard writes to the Earl of Mar : 
^^ My Lord of Shrewsbury, of whose idol's (Ara- 
bella's) sublimation, or at the least of a purpose 
to make her higher by as many steps as to ascend 
a scaffold.'' * 

This is the first indication, whether true or 
false, of the relations of Arabella forgetting their 
usual caution. The next year we find an allu- 
sion by the same writer, which is worthy of note, 
as being written long before Sir Walter Raleigh 
was accused of plotting on behalf of Arabella. 
Mary Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury, was thought 
to be quite as ambitious, but far less cautious 
than the Dowager Bess; and referring to the 
former. Lord Howard writes to Mr. Edward 
Bruce: "The league is very strong between 
Sir Walter Raleigh and my Lady of Shrewsbury, 
* Cecir>^ " Secret Correspondence." 

i6oa.] . Lady Arabella Stuart. 169 

and Sir Walter Raleigh's wife. She is a most 
dangerous woman, and full of her father's in- 
ventions/' * 

And now the report reached Eling James that 
Arabella had become so far entangled by the 
plotters as to renounce the Protestant religion, 
and he wrote the following kindly words to Lord 
Henry Howard : — 

^^ I am from my heart sorry for this accident 
fallen to Arbell, but as nature enforceth me to 
love her as the creature nearest of kin to me 
next my own children, so would I, for her own 
weal, that such order were taken as she might be 
preserved from evil company, and that evil in- 
clined persons might not have access unto her to 
supplant, abusing of the frailty of her youth and 
sex j for if it be true, as I am credibly informed, 
that she is lately moved by the persuasion of 
the Jesuits to change her religion and declare 
herself Catholic, it may easily be judged that she 
hath been very evil attended on by them that 
should have had greater care of her, when per- 
sons so odious, not only to all good Englishmen, 
but to all the rest of the world, Spain only ex- 
cepted, should haye access to have conferred with 
her at such leisure as to have disputed and 
moved her in matters of religion." 

* CeciVs " Secret Correspondence." 

160 Life and Letters of [1602. 

This letter is the strongest presumptive evi- 
dence that I have been able to discover in favour 
of the assertion that Arabella was a Roman 
Catholic. It proves decisively that she was 
educated as a Protestant. If the person who 
" credibly informed^^ James of Arabella's conver- 
sion told the truth, it was a truth involving a 
far greater matter than a mere change of creed. 
In such a case, at such a time, and under such 
circumstances, it might be taken as the proof of 
her guilt and the justice of the suspicions of the 
Queen. To become a Catholic at such a moment 
was to become a conspirator aided by foreign 
gold and foreign powers. 

But not only is the evidence offered by this 
letter merely presumptive, but later on we shall 
be able to show that, in England at least, she was 
not considered to have changed her creed. In 
our own day, when the matter is not of the 
slightest importance, when, if the greatest nobles 
in the land were to become Roman Catholics, 
the affairs of the kingdom would not change by 
a hair's breadth, we know that, from time to 
time, the cry is raised without the smallest 
foundation that some titled personage has become 
a popish convert. But in the time of Arabella, 
such consequences followed upon conversion, and, 
more especially in her case, so many wished for her 

1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart 161 

conversion, that the propensity to circulate these 
groundless stories was ten times as great. Both the 
ambitious Catholics and the friends of James were 
interested in the conversion of Arabella, and to 
their excited feelings rather than to any reality 
we must ascribe a tale that is utterly uncorro- 
borated by any of the letters written by her, or 
those most intimately acquainted with her. 

But another event now took place, one that 
roused the hatred of Elizabeth and eventually 
that of James, for reasons that will be hereafter 
explained at length. 

While foreign princes were busy proposing 
royal bridegrooms and forming ambitious schemes 
in which Arabella was to bear the principal part, 
she herself, who was dazzled by none of these, 
was accused of an act which to modem ideas 
appears extraordinary, but which, judged by the 
customs of the age, the only just mode of judg- 
ing, would have been simply in accordance with 
those customs. 

In the month of February, 1603, when Ara- 
bella was twenty-seven years old, she was ar- 
rested by order of Queen Elizabeth on the charge 
of attempting to betroth herself to William Sey- 
mour, grandson of the Earl of Hertford. 

In order to show why this betrothal should 
so have affected the Queen, and to account 

VOL. I. M 

162 Life and Letters of [1603. 

for the consequences that followed, we must 
leave Arabella for a time, to follow a history as 
sad as any that ever was created by romance, 
and which forms one of the darkest spots on the 
character of the great Queen. 

^SS^'l Lady Arabella Stuart. 163 



HE wUl of Henry VIII. has already been 
mentioned. In the 35th year of the 
reign of that monarch, a statute was 
passed enabling him to dispose of the Succession 
to the crown according to his pleasure. Henry 
took advantage of this authority to disinherit the 
line of his elder sister, the Scotch queen, Mar- 
garet, and to substitute the descendants of his 
younger sister, Mary, Queen Dowager of France, 
who, on the death of her first husband, had 
married Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, the 
favourite of Henry. 

Mary left two daughters, viz., Frances, married 
to Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, and Eleanor, 
married to the Earl of Cumberland, Frances 
became the mother of three daughters, viz., the 
Lady Jane Grey, married to Lord Guildford 
Dudley ; second, the Lady Katherine ; third, the 
Lady Mary. The Duchess Frances renounced 
her rights, or rather claims, to the Succession in 

M 2 

164 . Life and Letters of [1558. 

favour of her daughter Jane, who was appointed 
heir by Edward VI. ; and during the last year of 
that monarches life, Katherine, the second 
daughter, was married to Henry, Lord Herbert, 
eldest son of the Earl of Pembroke, who thought 
to win a great prize by marrying a princess of 
the blood royal, and a sister of the future 

The melancholy fate of Lady Jane Grey 
shattered these golden prospects. The house of 
Grey lay low in the dust, and an alliance with it 
was fraught with danger and the certain disfavour 
of the gloomy Queen Mary. Katherine was only 
fifteen years old at the time of her marriage. 
She was the favourite sister of Lady Jane, whose 
last act the night before her execution was to 
write a letter on the leaf of her Greek Testament 
for her young sister Katherine. The bloody 
death of Jane was soon followed by that of the 
Duke of Suffolk; and, in the course of a few 
weeks, Katherine had to sustain another loss, 
that was accompanied by such baseness and 
insult as, in a more fiery spirit, would almost 
have extinguished the last sense of grief. At 
the very time when her young heart was crushed 
with the overwhelming loss of her sister and . 
father, her husband, of whom it is impossible to 
think without unmitigated scorn and indignation. 

1558.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 165 

divorced her, in order to retain the favour of 
Queen Mary. Katherine uttered no word of 
complaint or remonstrance, though she wept 
silently so bitterly that a lasting testimony of 
her grief remained in the paleness of her cheeks 
as long as she lived. She resumed her maiden 
name, and, by command of Queen Mary, retained 
her place as lady of honour to the Queen. 

At the Court of Mary, she formed an intimate 
and romantic friendship with the Lady Jane 
Seymour. Jane Seymour was the eldest daugh- 
ter of the Protector Somerset, and had been 
destined by her father to become the bride of 
Edward VI. She received a learned education, 
and, by means of Somerset, was on familiar 
terms with Edward, with whom she corresponded 
in Latin. "With her sisters, she rendered her- 
self famous by some Latin verses on the death of 
Margaret of Valois, which were published at 
Paris, and translated into several languages, and 
she bade fair, in time, to rival the reputation of 
Lady Jane Grey.* But, like those of Katherine, 
her hopes perished on the scaffold of her father, 
and the similarity of their fate doubtless tended to 
deepen their mutual sympathy, and draw the 
two orphan girls more closely together. 

* See a letter of Jane Seymour in Mrs. Everett Green's 
" Letters of Eoyal and Illustrious Ladies." 

166 Life and Letters of ['559. 

ThoTigli three years younger than Katherine, 
Janets was the ruling mind. Her name, her 
acquirements, so like to those of the lost Jane 
Grey, were sure to bind her to Katherine, who 
recognised her superior in everything but love, 
and her equal even in that. It was another 
instance of the stronger ruling the weaker mind. 
But in this case the strong mind was one of the 
noblest texture. All its strength and fervour 
were exerted for those it loved, and in the short 
life of Jane Seymour we find recorded not a 
single selfish act to her Mend, or the least 
hesitation to aid in her happiness from fear of 
any consequences to herself. 

The two girls became inseparable. Katherine 
leaned her whole soul on Jane. To her she 
spoke . of her past griefs, of her dead sister, of 
her strange widowhood, and from her she received 
the tenderest sympathy and the softest consola- 
tion. When Jane visited her mother she spoke 
of Katherine, and revealed those inner graces of 
her friend which were hidden from the world, 
and were of necessity veiled in the gloomy and 
suspicious Court. 

Suddenly Jane was seized with an iUness 
which obliged her to be sent home. Katherine 
obtained permission to accompany her, and, with 
her gentle friend and the mother of the maids 

^559'] Lady Arabella Stuart. 167 

of honour^ Jane was carried in a horse litter to 
Hanwortli, the residence of her mother, the 
Duchess of Somerset. 

Jane slowly recovered, and, during her con- 
valescence, Katherine, released from the restraints 
of the Court, appeared in all her.sweet and simple 
character, and proved the undoubted truth, that 
those women who are the kindest and most 
loving to woman are also the most faith&l and 
unselfish to man. 

Edward Seymour, afterwards Earl of Hertford, 
and eldest son of the Protector Somerset, was one 
year older than Katherine. The most intense 
attachment subsisted between him and his sister 
Jane, and each was ready to make any sacrifice for 
the happiness of the other. Many conversations, 
we may be sure, had passed between them on 
the subject of Katherine, and Seymour was 
already ftJl of that pity which is so near akin 
to love. The personal acquaintance with Kathe- 
rine soon gave a colour to this feeling, and when 
she came under his mother^s roof, and he watched 
her gentle ways and attachment to his sister, hi» 
sympathy deepened into tenderness and melted 
into love. The noble character of his sister 
had inspired him with a deep respect for women, 
and though his mother complains of him as 
^'troublesome,'^ and Lord Burghley received a 

168 Life and Letters of [i559- 

letter from the tutor of his son to the eflFect 
that Seymour hindered him in his studies^ yet 
the manner of his wooing was such as betokened 
anything but that of the conceited young gal- 
lants of his day. 

Very few men would have stood in awe of 
the simple^ humble-minded Katherine. In her 
unfortunate circumstances, the daughter of a 
beheaded traitor, and herself a rejected and 
contemptuously divorced wife, the member of a 
disgraced family, most would have felt quite 
sure of her, and that she would receive, an offer 
of marriage from one of the proudest houses in 
the land with profound gratitude at the least. 
But Seymour manifested no such self-confidence, 
and was more timid in preferring his suit to her 
now, in her days of darkness and grief, than the 
son of Pembroke had been, when, as the sister 
of a regal heiress, she stood at the summit of 
her prosperity. She had no remarkable beauty, 
no brilliant talents, but little wealth — ^nothing 
but love to give him in return for all he offered, 
for as to her royal blood, that was the very 
danger that had driven away her husband on 
account of the jealousy it occasioned the Queen. 
But Seymour weighed that love, and thought it 
worth more than all the world besides, if only 
he could win it, and he esteemed it so precious 

^59-] Lady Arabella Stuart. 169 

that lie thought nothing he could offer worthy 
to set against it. And so, not daring to speak 
to her himself, he ^^ first procured with his sister 
to break with the said Lady Katherine touching 

Then Katherine confessed to Jane that she, 
too, had not been brought in such close contact 
to remain untouched, and that her heart was 
Seymour^s already, even before he asked for it. 

And now the great barrier was broken down, 
and that mysterious word was spoken which re- 
vealed the truth to these two illustrious hearts. 
They solemnly promised to be true to each other, 
and Seymour gave Katherine a ring, made of 
five links of gold, with a pointed diamond in the 
fifth link, and engraved on the other four links, 
a line on each, was the following posy of Sey- 
mour's composition : — 

" As circles five by art compact shew but one Ring in sight. 
So trust uniteth faithfull raindes with knot of secret might, 
Whose force to breake but greedie Death noe wight pos- 

sesseth power, 
As time and sequels well shall prove. My Ring can say 

no more." 

Parents at that time were comparative stran- 
gers to their children, and, indeed, treated them 
as such. The form, and ceremony, and cold 
respect exacted were anything but calculated to 

* Examination of the Earl of Hertford, Harl.MSS. 249. 


J 70 Life and Letters of [^559- 

win a child's confidence. Marriages were gene- 
rally arranged by the parents, solely with regard 
to worldly circumstances; the heart or head 
had little to do with the matter. The only 
remaining parent of Katherine is included in the 
description given of both her parents by Lady 
Jane Grey to Roger Ascham. From her we 
learn that the Duchess Frances was ^^ sharp and 
severe/' in whose presence, '^ whether she did 
speak, keep silence, sit, stand or go, eat, drink, , 
be merry or sad, be sewing or playing, drawing, 
or doing anything else, she must do it, as it were, 
in such weight, measure, and number, even so 
perfectly as God made the world, or else she was 
so sharply taunted, so cruelly threatened, yea, 
presently, sometimes with pinches, nips, and 
bobs, so without measure misordered, that she 
thought herself in hell.'' 

The mother of Seymour was Anne, Duchess of 
Somerset, who is described by Sir John Hayward 
as a " mannish, or rather a divelish woman, for 
many imperfectibUities intoUerable, but for pride 
monstrous, exceeding subtle and violent." Per- 
sonal spite has doubtless coloured the latter 
description, but evidence suflBcient remains of 
the characters of the two mothers to prevent any 
surprise that Seymour '' did use the Lady Jane, 
his sister, for the only instrument or means to 

''55^t] Lady Arabella Stuart. 171 

furtlier Ms purpose/' and, being questioned 
whether he did impart this matter unto the Lady 
his Mother, he said " he never did/'* 

To maintain the same coldness to each other 
in the same house, proved too hard a task for 
Seymour and Katherine ; and the Lady Mother 
of Seymour, ^'perceiving familiarity and good- 
will between the Lady Katherine and him, did 
often admonish him to abstain from her company, 
whereupon he answered his mother that young 
folks meaning weU might well accompany to- 
gether, and that both in that house and also in 
the Court, he trustad he might use her company, 
being not forbidden by the Queen's express com- 
mandment/'t The betrothal was kept a profound 
secret from all but the faithful rister, and Jane 
and Katherine returned to Court. 

In 1558, Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne, 
and hope revived the hearts of the lovers. The 
Queen treated Seymour with marked favour, 
restoring to him most of the estates and 
titles forfeited at his father's death, and recog- 
nising him as Earl of Hertford. The Duchess 
Frances of SuflTolk, who had been one of the 
sternest and most rigid of parents, had become 
softened by misfortune and by a second marriage 

* Examination of the Earl of Hertford, Harl. MSS. 249. 
t Ibid. 

172 . Life and Letters of [i559- 

with Adrian Stokes, a gentleman of her house- 
hold; and her declining health probably made 
her wish to see her daughters settled before her 
death. Seymour, now Earl of Hertford, there- 
fore, without revealing the fact that he and 
Katherine had long ago already betrothed them- 
selves to each other, rode to the Charter House, 
the residence of the Duchess Frances, '^ and there 
he moved the said Lady Frances to grant her 
good-will that he might marry the Lady Katherine, 
her daughter/^ The Duchess thought him '^ a 
very fit husband " for her daughter, and imme- 
diately sent for her to retun^ from Court, if the 
Queen would give her leave. Katherine, ignorant 
of what awaited her, obtained th6 desired per- 
mission, and, on her arrival at home, her mother 
told her that '\ now she had provided a husband 
for her if she would like well of it, willing her 
to frame her fancy and good- will that way.^^* Then 
Katherine, without referring to the past, dutifully 
signified her willingness to accept the husband 
provided for her ; and the Duchess told Hertford 
that the Queen^s permission was the only thing to 
be obtained, and that she herself would write to 
her Majesty, asking her good-will to the marriage. 

The rough draft of the letter to the Queen 
was actually made, but before the Duchess had 

* Examination of Katherine Hertford, Harl. MSS. 249. 

3559'J Lady Arabella Stuart 173 

time to copy and send it to the Queen, she was 
seized with a sudden access of illness, and soon 
after expired. She was buried with great pomp 
in Westminster Abbey, where a marble monu- 
ment, erected by Queen Elizabeth, commemorates 
the Duchess Frances, the daughter of the French 
Queen, and the mother of Jane and Katherine 

The death of the Duchess of course deferred the 
application to the Queen, and before .a due period 
had elapsed. Queen Elizabeth had not only given 
such unmistakeable proofs of her aversion to 
matrimony, but also of her personal dislike to 
her cousin Katherine, that the lovers feared that 
to ask her consent would result in obtaining her 
decisive prohibition. 

The jealous fears with which Elizabeth always 
regarded a possible successor, were naturally 
stronger at the beginning of her reign, when her 
throne rested on a precarious foundation, and 
she had had no time to ingratiate herself with 
the people. The will of her father, it is true, 
was mislaid purposely or accidentally, and the 
question of the signature was a disputed point, 
but the probability is that Elizabeth in her own 
heart never doubted the genuineness of the will, 
and it is certain that it was recognised by those 
she feared the most. Philip II, so openly acknow- 

174 Life and Letters of [i559. 

ledged the pretensions of Lady Katherine, who, 

according to this will, was heiress-presumptive to 

the crown of England, that it was even reported 

that he had offered a sum of money to any one 

who would bring her to Spain * The Spanish 

ambassador, De Feria, was on intimate terms 

with her. Writing to the King of Spain, he 

says : — '' The Lady Katherine is a good friend 

of mine, and talks to me in confidence. The 

Queen, she says, does not like to think of her as 

her possible successor. The late Queen took her 

iiito the privy chamber and was kind to her. 

She complains that now she is out of favour and 

finds nothing but discourtesy. I keep on good ^ 

terms with my Lady Katherine; she promises 

for her part not to change her religion, and not 

marry without my consent.^^ "j" 

The last sentence has been alleged as a proof 
of Katherine's intrigues against the Queen, and 
of her willingness to T)ecome a Roman Catholic. 
That Katherine, treated with repulsive coldness 
by the Queen, and losing hope of obtaining her 
permission to her union with the object of her 
love, should have greeted the advances of a 
powerful ambassador, who wished to become her 

* Froude*s " Hist, of England," vii. p. 93 ; Camden, ii. 
p. 373; Wright's "Elizabeth." 

t Fronde's " Hist, of Eng." vii. p. 70. 

I559-] Lady Arabella Stuart. 175 

friend was natural enongh. To the firiendless, 
any protector seems welcome; and Katherine^s was 
not the nature to penetrate deep political designs 
behind the mask of friendship. That she should 
have given utterance to reproaches against her 
royal cousin was natural too, but that those 
reproaches had any reference to a plot against 
Elizabeth, requires stronger proof than mere 
assertion. And no proof whatever has been 
adduced of a plot on the part of Katherine that 
could afford the shadow of an excuse for the 
treatment she received at the hands of Elizabeth. 
It was not ambition, but love in its truest sense, 
that wrecked the life of this unfortunate scion 
of the house of Tudor. 

But though dwelling beneath the dark shadow 
of the royal frown, terribly significant in those 
days of despotism, the young Earl clung to his 
hearths choice, and, to use the words of Katherine, 
'^ the love did continue or rather increased be- 
tween the Earl and her, with sundry meetings 
between them as time might serve, and as folks 
of that sort will do without making any creature 
living of their counsel, saving the Lady Jane, 
and one Elyne, the servant of the said Lady 

^^ Tokens ^' and ^^ sweet words ^' were constantly 
exchanged by the aid of the same faithful mes- 

176 Life and Letters of [^559- 

senger, when suddenly a cloud more black than 
even the anger of the Queen rose over the devoted 
pair. Some person informed Lady Katherine 
that the Earl, her true and noble Hertford, was 
at that very moment paying his addresses to 
another lady. 

Katherine was very humble-minded, but, if 
pride had not awakened then, she would have 
been no true woman, and have proved that she 
had never truly loved. She forbade Hertford 
her presence, and broke the engagement, and 
Hertford was at liberty — jfree from the entangle- 
ment of which he had had ample time to repent, 
if he thought of prudence and worldly wisdom. 
But the Earl besought Katherine to grant him 
an interview, in which he said he would prove 
his truth. Katherine " was very willing to hear 
him,^' desiring ^^ nothing more ;* and when he 
came to see her, he convinced her that he had 
been slandered, and as Jie said, to prevent further 
suspicion, and because she should not think that 
he intended to mock her, he asked her to marry 
him as soon as the Queen should come next 
to London, if a convenient time might be 
found for the purpose,^' " and then,^^ he 
added, " should she be sure and out of all 

* Examination of the Earl and Countess of Hertford, 
Harl. MSS. 249. 


1 560.] L)sfdy A rabella Stuart * 177 

doubt/^* This was all said in the hearing of the 
Lady Jane. 

Then Katherine answered, that ^'weighing 
his long suit and good-will borne to her, she 
was content to marry him the next time the 
Queen should go abroad and leave her and 
Lady Jane behind/' She then confessed that 
his love was not greater than hers, and " with- 
out any other ceremony/' says the Earl, ^^ but 
kissing and embracing and joining their hands 
together,''t they separated. 

It was some time before the desired oppor- 
tunity arrived. But at last the day came. The 
Queen appointed a hunting expedition to Eltham, 
and Katherine and Jane, with some other maids 
of honour, were to be left behind at Whitehall. 
Jane immediately sent word to her brother that the 
propitious hour had arrived. The Earl then at 
once gave orders to Fortescue, his gentleman 
usher, to send away all his servants on different 
errands the next day, so that the coast might be 
clear, and his orders were obeyed by all except 
William Powell, the cook, and Jenkins Crisp, the 
groom, who ^' did say and report that there was 
good-will between the Earl and Lady Katherine,'' 

* Examination of the Earl and Countess of Hertford^. 
Harl. MSS. 249. 

t Ibid. 
VOL. I. N 

178 * Life and Letters of [1560. 

and who may well be supposed to have been 
neither blind, deaf, nor specially dull of com- 
prehension at this particular time. 

Early in the morning, the Queen and her 
train departed to Eltham, to spend the day in 
hunting, and, about an hour after, Katherine and 
Jane stole down the steps of Whitehall Palace, and 
unaccompanied by a single attendant, they walked 
along the shore of the river, the tide being out, 
and, without meeting a single person, soon arrived 
at the water-gate of the EarFs house in Cannon 
Bow. They then ascended the steps, and passing 
the kitchen window where the cook and the groom 
were slily peeping, they entered a back door, and 
were received by the Earl in his private apart- 

No preparations had been made for the wed- 
ding, secrecy being the great object; and so 
agitated were the bride and bridegroom, that they 
both solemnly swore afterwards, that they were un- 
able to remember what dress either wore on that 
eventful day. They could not speak, but waited 
silently in each other's presence, whUe Lady Jane 
went to fetch the priest whom she had under- 
taken to provide. She soon returned, bringing 
with her ^^ a fair-complexioned man with an au- 
burn beard, of a meane stature, dressed in a long 
gowne faced with budge, the collar thereof turned 

15^0.] Lady Arabella Stuart 179 

down/^ — a Lutheran priest, probably a refugee 
from the Netherlands. He was unknown both 
to the Earl and Katherine, Jane having arranged 
the ceremony with him beforehand. He then 
performed the marriage ceremony according to 
the service of the Common Prayer-book. 

Did not the whole subsequent conduct of the 
Earl utterly refute such a suspicion, it might 
almost be supposed that he wished to render the 
marriage uncertain. 

But the real truth is that the perfect con- 
fidence and honour of both parties were so fixed 
and romantic that they forgot the importance of 
other circumstances which the law requires, and 
which can seriously afiect the rights of others. 
There was no one to give away the bride, the 
only witness to the marriage ceremony was Lady 
Jane; and not only were the priest^s name and. 
address unknown to both the Earl and Katherine, 
but they forgot to notice his countenance suf- 
ficiently to be able to recognise him again. It 
was the Lady Jane who brought him, gave him 
ten pounds for performing the ceremony, led him 
away, and reserving this mystery to herself, dis- 
missed him without the knowledge of the Earl. 

After the wedding. Lady Jane took upon her- 
seK the office of sewer and cup-bearer, and 
oflFered " Confects and other Banquetting meats 


180 Life and Letters of [156 1. 

and Beere and Wyne npon the Cup-boarde/* 
but Katherine, now Countess of Hertford, ^' drank 
none, neither saw any person that brought any/^* 
The Earl then took his wife and sister to the 
water-gate, and kissing Katherine, he bade her 
farewell for a short time; and putting them 
into a boat, he watched them glide down the 
river to Whitehall, where they regained the 
palace and mingled with the company as if 
nothing had happened, while the Earl remained 
in his lonely house by the river in Cannon 

Such was the marriage of Edward Seymour, 
Earl of Hertford, son of the Protector Somerset, 
and Katherine, sister of Lady Jane Grey — a story 
that might well pass for a fiction, a romance of 
the historian, did not the records remain of every 
fact above related, as solemnly sworn to be- 
fore the High Court of Conmiission of Queen 

Yet if ever there was a marriage, in the 
noblest and best sense of the word, it was 
surely this. Among the lowliest peasants or the 
serenest philosophers, we may equally seek in 
vain for a more perfect example of a love, that 
fully admitting and honouring the moral and 
religious law, rated at their due insignificance 
* Harl. MSS. 249. 

1561.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 181 

every other circumstance which could meddle 
-with the all-paramount claims of mutual afTec- 
tion. The noise and parade, that on ever so 
small a scale are considered a necessity, and 
which too often cheat the dues of love to 
feed the appetite of vanity, were so ignored by a 
princess and an earl, that they did not even 
know what dress they were married in, and the 
very error they committed in the absence of 
witnesses, while no virtue in itself, yet bears 
witness to the virtue of mutual trust and dis- 

If Katherine had been guilty of any of the 
ambitious designs imputed to her, she would 
never have married Hertford. People who use 
marriage only as a stepping-stone in political 
ambition, are not deterred by any amount of 
imbecility or uncongeniality in the object pro- 
posed. The same person, viz.. Sir Thomas 
Chaloner, the English ambassador to the Nether- 
lands, who reports that ^^it was thought she 
(Katherine) could be enticed away, if some trusty 
body spoke with her,^^ says in the same letter 
that the council of King Philip " thought how 
he might both geg the French King, and also 
brave a title to the Crown of England by 
the conveying out of the realm the Lady 
Katherine, who is supposed ' to be the next heir 

182 Life and Letters of [1561. 

to the realm^ and marry her to the Prince his 

The extravagances of Don Carlos would have 
been no barrier in the eyes of an ambitious 
woman, who, by a union with him, would not 
only crown herself with the proudest diadem on 
earth, which Spain could certainly boast in those 
-days of long- departed glory, but would be able 
to put the weight of Spain in the balance for her 
<;laim to the far inferior sceptre of England after 
the death of Elizabeth. Yet we find no evidence 
• of her intriguing for this or any other foreign 
marriage, or taking any st«p that could promote 
her ambition in any way. She remained a Pro- 
testant, true to the traditions of the house of 
Suffolk j and as to the assertion that intelligence 
received by Cecil caused her to be '^ too closely 
watched for the future to permit her evasion,''t 
not ["one word or action has yet been cited to 
show that she intended or wished an evasion or 
escape. That other parties formed plots with the 
intention of using her as tool for their own ends, 
is no proof that she would have consented to be 
the tool, and how she was regarded by Sir 
Thomas Chaloner may be seen from another 
jassage in the letter above quoted : — ^^ The 

* The Anstrian Archduke was also spoken of as fit consort, 
t Fronde's " History of England," viii. 

1561.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 188 

■writer does not know whether the Lady Kathe- 
rine or any of the parties before rehearsed are 
privy to these practises, or whether they are 
only thought meetest by some on this side/^* 

During the time of these supposed plots^ 
Katherine, as we have seen, was secretly be- 
trothed to Hertford, and her faith to him during 
the whole of her life is too strong a fact to be 
altered by the tattle of a Spaniard, or even the 
reports (pretending to be nothing else) picked up 
in a foreign country by an English ambassador* 

Nor can the sincerity of Hertford's devo-' 
tion be attainted. The old Mendship of the 
Queen for his father had been extended to 
him, and one of the first acts of Elizabeth on 
coming to the throne had been to restore 
him to most of the lost honours of Somer- 
set. By marrying a royal princess, and a 
hated, however innocent, rival of Elizabeth, he 
knew perfectly well that he should forfeit the 
Queen's favour, for the hopes that had inspired 
him at the beginning of her reign had long 
vanished as he witnessed the treatment which 
Katherine received at Court. That he had no 
ambitious designs in his marriage is proved by 
the fact of his want of caution in procuring 
witnesses and a duly certificated and produci- 
* See Appendix 11. c. 

184 Life and Letters of [15^ i- 

ble priest. If he had thought of the possible 
future queen, and not of the woman, the first 
things he would have secured would have been 
the unchallengeable validity of the marriage, and 
the claims of any children he might have to the 
English crown under the will of Henry VIII. — 
claims which, as Elizabeth had already declared 
her intention of never marrying, were of the 
highest importance to his worldly advantage. 

But, as we have seen, neither party thought 
of these things. With the inexperience and 
• iaith of youth, they were unprepared for dis- 
belief and sneers at what they both solemnly 
swore to be true, and maintained to the end 
of their lives ; and though they anticipated the 
Queen's anger should their marriage be dis- 
covered, they could not foresee the whole of the 
^calamities that awaited them. 

The first of these calamities was the death of 
the only witness of the marriage, th^ devoted 
Jane. By some rapid illness, the cause of which 
is not mentioned, she was carried off in the 
nineteenth year of her age, to the bitter grief 
of Katherine and Hertford. As one of the 
maids of honour, and a favourite of the Queen, 
she was ordered a splendid funeral. Her body 
was brought from the Queen's Almonry to West- 
minster Abbey, followed by sixty mourners and 


1561.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 185 

two Inmdred of the ladies and gentlemen of the 
Court, including members of the Privy Council. 
A large banner of arms was borne, the Clarencieux 
herald attending, and the Bishop of Peterborough, 
preached a funeral sermon, in which he warmly 
eulogized the virtues of Jane. She was buried 
in the same chapel with the Duchess Prances, 
the mother of her friend Katherine. 

The spectator who wanders among the neg- 
lected and decaying tombs of Westminster Abbey, 
may — ^if allowed to remain long enough by the 
greedy vergers, in whose hands, and for whose 
pecuniary profit, rest the old historic tombs 
of our illustrious dead — read the following 
inscription : — 

The Noble Lady JANE SEYMOVR, davghter to the 
renowned Prince Edward, Dvke of Somerset, Earle of Hert- 
forde, Viscovute Beavchampe, and Baron Seymovr ; and to 
the right noble Lady Anne, Dachesse of Somerset, his wyfe ; 
departed this lyfe in her virgin itie at y* age of xix yeares 
the XIX daie of Marclie a** m.ccccclx. in the seconde yeare 
of the moste happie raigne of Qveene Elizabeth, and was 
honorablie bvryod in the floore of this Chappell. To whose 
memorie, Edward Earle of Hertforde and Baron Beavtxhampe, 
her deare brother, bathe cavsed this monvment to be made. 

Camden says that the following verses were 
also at one time inscribed on her monument : — 

Ingenio prsestans & vnltu Jana decoro, 
Nobilis atte fuit vocis, <& arte manus, 
Hanb Venus & Pallas certant utra debet habere, 
Yult Yenus esse soam, Pallas esse soam ; 

186 Life and Letters of [1561- 

Mors fera Virginia figens in itectore telum, 
Neutrius (inquit) erit, sed mihi prseda iacet. 
Corpore Jana iacet telliirem terra subibit, 
Sed pins in ccsli spiritus arce sedet. 

Which have been thus translated : — 

On the Death of Lady Jane, hy Dr. Haddon, 
For genius famed, for beauty loved, 
Jane bade the world admire ; 
Her voice harmonious notes improved, 
Her hand the tuneful lyre. 
Venus and Pallas claimed this maid, 
Each as her right alone, 
But Death superior power displayed. 
And seized her as his own. 
Her virgin dust this mournful Tomb 
In kindred earth contains ; 
Her soul, which Pate can ne'er consume, 
In endless glory reigns. 

The necessity of keeping their marriage secret 
had, of course, placed the Earl and Katherine 
in a false position. Their interviews were as 
much stolen and attended with more danger than 
in the days of their courtship, and were managed 
by Lady Jane, or a servant of Katherine named 
Leigh, who, of her own accord, ^^when she saw 
my Lord and Lady whisper together, would with- 
draw herself out of sight and leave them alone/' 
Before the death of Jane, the faithful servant 
had left her mistress, and, by the death of her 
friend, Katherine and Hertford were left without 
any messenger whom they could trust. The 
Earl was not his own master, although of age. 


1561.] Lady, Arabella Stuart 187 

His mother still claimed his obedience, and, 
ignorant of his secret, was irritated that he 
would not settle himself to marry. The Queen, 
who sometimes forced her advice on the yonng 
men of her Court in a practical manner that they 
could not dispute, saw that he W3,s unsettled and 
strange in his ways, and decided that to travel 
abroad would be good for him. As this was no 
secret, it soon came to Katherine^s ears, but the 
Earl, unwilling to grieve her, denied it, " as he 
would in no wise be acknowen unto her of it, 
saying that she might be sure he should get noe 
leave though he were so minded.^^ 

The following curious letter from his mother, 
the Duchess Anne, shows his position in the eyes 
of others at this critical period, and when we 
remember that it is written in the Duchess's own 
hand, on the very day of the death of her 
daughter Jane, we can still comprehend why the 
Earl and Katherine kept their secret, and how, 
notwithstanding the '^motherly love'' of the 
Duchess, she was no woman on whose bosom 
the young or the erring would repose their griefs 
and perplexities : — 

Anne^ Duchess of Somerset ^ to Sir William CedL* 
" Good Mr. Secretary, — First I beseech you 
* State Papers, Eliz., Dom., xvi. fol. 52, MS. 

188 Life and Letters of \}S^^- 

do my most bounden duty of thanks to the 
queen^s highness for this gracious favour to have 
any respect to my liking of my son^s journey. 
And next, I pray you say that I like this journey \ 

so far forth as it best liketh her highness ; thirdly, 
as you Mr. Secretary think good to persuade I 

the going or tarrying, even so shall I be best 
content. Motherly love wisheth him here at 
home matched in some noble house to the 
Queen's Majesty's liking and his own contenta- 
tion, serving his country to his friends' content. 
Again his vain life, hitherto tending rather to the 
contrary, bids me prove if experience of travel 
and sight of foreign countries will shake oflF 
these youthful errors. Then forth comes so 
many dangers to my head, together with the 
remembrance of his small body to bear travel and 
sickness, that I know not what to say. And 
yet to continue here the life he hath led should 
prove too much to my discomfort. I call to i 

mind many whose travel hath Increased their | 

estimation; others again have consumed their 
substance, spent their time and lost credit. Thus 
do I see for the most part as travel is a gain to 
the better disposed, even so proves it fruitless to 
the contrary sort. Sir, though I as a mother do 
wish the best to my child, yet do I yield and j 

consent to that which Mr. Secretary thinks meet I 

1 56 1 .] Lady Arabella Stuart 189 

for my son to follow. I pray you take this one 
thing of me among my motherly passions, that as 
the queen^s highnesses pleasure is to stay or let 
him go, even so am I best content. If it be 
indifferent to her Majesty, then, good master 
Secretary, make answer on my behalf as to your 
wisdom shall seem good. I know you wish his 
good, and know what is better for him than 
either I or himself. And I am so sorry that his 
demeanour is such towards you as that he drives 
you to strain curtly to say your flat mind which 
is the better to stay or go. I had rather he 
willed to have dealt that your letter to me might 
have been lengthened with a fl^t persuasion of 
either going or tarrying. Good Mr. Secretary, 
I have lost one that had been abroad and was 
coming homeward. And for that this stands 
now upon making and marring, bear with me, 
though I be the more earnest to crave your 
faithfiil friendly counsel towards him. Good Mr. 
Secretary, deal not curtly with him, though he be 
somewhat wilful and unruly, yet spare not to 
overrule him. And again, if in meaning the 
best, his stay should be by any occasion of mine, 
and afterward danger should ensue thereby, then 
shoidd my grief be doubled. Thus remain I 
perplexed at my wit^s end what to write or what 
to say. Saving that I end as I began, to do that 

190 Life and Letters of [1561- 

which may best satisfy the queen^s majesty, and 
then do give Mr. Secretary full commission to 
answer what please him on my behalf. And 
snre I am there cannot but good come of it 
whether it be in going or tarrying. If the con- 
trary should happen at all, resting in Grod^s hands, 
yet doubt I not, but I interpret Mr. Secretary's 
doing to proceed of a most faithful and earnest 
friend. And so resting in prayer for the Queen's 
Majesty, I leave you to God, who send you and 
my Lady Cecil the comfort your own hearts can 
best desire, wishing it lay in me to show some 
part of will and meaning I have to requite the 
trouble and care ye have had and must have 
with me and mine. 

'* Yours assured to my power ever, 

^'Anne Somerset.'' 

The Queen decided on the departure of Hert- 
ford j and knowing how soon he should have to 
brave her displeasure, he perhaps thought to 
soften it by showing prompt obedience now. 
Only by revealing the truth could he defer his 
departure ; and he possibly hoped, as mortals do 
hope, without reason, for some lucky accident 
between the present and the inevitable future 
moment. Katherine by chance saw the passport 
signed for his journey to Paris; but, though 

156 1 . ] Lady Arabella Stuart. 191 

overwhelmed witli grief, they both esteemed it 
best to keep the secret as long as possible.* The 
Earl then drew a deed on parchment^ settling 
1000/. a year on Katherine in case of his deaths 
and then departed ; and Katherine was left alone 
to bear the swiftly^approaching revelation. 

Soon the cruel whispers, and scornful glances, 
and contemptuous behaviour of the Court informed 
the poor young Countess that her reputation was 
at stake, and the fatal hour was come. 

The first person to whom she turned in her 
distress was Bess of Hardwick, then a Court lady, 
high in favour with the Queen, as Lady Saintlow.f 
Bess well knew the danger of such confidence. 
She burst into tears, not of sympathy but fear, 
declaring to the trembling Katherine her sorrow 
that she had married without the consent or 
knowledge of the Queen or any other of her 
Mends, and gave her no hope. Katherine, 
frantic with terror, though it was late at night, 
next hurried to the apartments of Lord Robert 
Dudley, and besought his intercession. It is not 
likely that he denied it, as he was not cruel to 
any whose requests did not interfere with himself. 

* Personal Answers of Lady Katherine Hertford, Harl. 
MSS. 249. 

t Sir William Saintlow having been imprisoned by Queen 
Mary at the conspiracy of Wyatt, he was, like the rest of that 
party, in high favour with Queen Elizabeth. 

192 Life and Letters of [1561. 

But Dudley himself could have done nothing to 
soften the rage of the Queen, whose worst quali- 
ties came out on the discovery of a stolen, 
marriage. Not the most ardent admirer of her 
splendid qualities, her undaunted courage, her 
pride in the renown of her country, the dignity 
with which she upheld her great name in the eyes 
of foreign nations, and the power with which 
she sacrificed her private feelings to lift England 
high above the rank in which she found it, can 
regard the conduct of Queen Elizabeth to Kathe- 
rine Hertford with any other feeling than that of 
shame and indignation. 

In a transport of fury she hurried Katherine 
to the Tower, that must have frowned in ten- 
fold horror upon the wretched prisoner, who., in 
a state of health demanding the utmost tender- 
ness and gentleness, was compelled to pass 
through the Traitors^ Gate and by the very spot 
where her sister had been condemned to a bloody 
death. Bess, too, though certainly quite innocent, 
was included in the Queen^s wrath, and, on 
suspicion of being an accomplice, was compelled 
to take up her residence for a time in the same 
gloomy abode. The following warrant will re- 
call the story of Lady Margaret Douglas and 
Lord Thomas Howard, and has quite an here- 
ditary sound in it : — 

15^0.] Lady Arabella Stuart 193 

From the Quene^s Majestic to Mr. Warner, Liett^ 
tenant of the Tower ^ 17th August, 1560.* 

" Trusty and wellbeloved^ we grete you well. 
Our pleasure is, that ye shall, as by our Com- 
mandment, examyn the Lady Caiharyne very 
streightly, how many hath bene pryvee to the 
Love betwixt the Erie of Hertford and hir from 
the begynning ; and lett hir eertenly understand 
that she shall have no Manner of Favor, except 
she will shew the truth, not only what Ladyes 
or Gentillwomen of this Court wer therto privee, 
but also what Lords and Gentillmen: For it 
doth now appere that sondry Personagees have 
delt herein; and when it shall appeare more 
manifestly, it shall increase our Indignation 
ageynst hir, if she will forbeare to utter. 

" We ernestly requyre you to bestow your 
Diligence in this. Ye also shall send to Alder- 
man Lodg secretly for Sentlow, and shall put hir 
in aw of divers Matters confessed by the Lady 
Catharyn ; and so also deale with hir, that she 
may confess to you all hir Knowledg in the 
same Mattiers. It is certayne that there hath 
bene great Practisees and Purposees ; and sence 
the Death of the Lady Jane, she hath been most 
privee. And as ye shall see Occasion so ye may 

* Hayues^ Burghley Papera, p. 369. 
VOL. I. O 

194 Life and Letters of [1560. 

keep Sentlow two or tliree nights more ore less, 
and let hir be retomed to Lodgee's or kept still 
mth you, as ye shall tlink mete. We have 
signed a Licence for your absence, but we would 
that ye should forbeare for a fortnight, and not 
to depart untill also our Pleasure be furder 

The result of this order is best given in the 
words of Sir Edward Warner himself, and to his 
letter may be appended one written on the same 
day by the Duchess Anne, whose true character 
as a mother now fully appears : — 

Sir Edward Warner to the Queen Elizabeth. 

" Pleaseth it your most excellent Majesty. 
Upon the Receipt of your letters, I have accord- 
ing to the tenor theifeof travailed both with the 
Lady Katherine and mistress Saintlow, using all 
the ways and means I could devise to bolt out 
and bring to light the practises and secret deal- 
ing which hath been used in the love between 
the earl of Hertford and the said lady Katherine. 
But they do both most earnestly allege and avow 
that they have in aU things concerning the same 
justly and truly confessed to such as it pleased 

* State Papers, Eliz., Dom., xix., fol. 32, MS. 

1561.] Lady Arabella Stuart 195 

your highness to send unto them before this, and 
there is no question that I have asked of the 
Lady Katherine but she sayeth the same hath been 
demanded of her before, and she hath answered 
even according to the very truth. Dii/«rs of 
which answers hath to me seemed so unlikely 
that I have greatly charged her therewith, and 
by all ways and means I could, persuaded her 
to be more plaine with your highness. Neverthe- 
less she standeth fast that all that she hath said 
is true, and also that she hath said all the truth, 
and seeing there is no more to be gotten of her, 
I have taken that as it is and put it in writing 
in as good order and so I could bear it which 
spending much time with her the rather to see 
if anything would fall out unadvisedly most 
humbly beseeching your majesty to take my 
doing herein in good part and likewise I crave 
your pardon that I trouble you with scribbling 
a fyt, but I can do it no better myself and I 
was loth to trust any other person with me- 
herein. For, also, much as it pleased your 
majesty to write unto me that you had signed a. 
license for me to be absent for a season, I am 
so bold to request the possession thereof and 
your favour to enjoy also the benefit thereof. 
So praying the Holy Ghost to prosper all your 
godly purposes and give you long life to reign. 

o 2 

196 Life and Letters of [1561. 

over us, from your tower of London the 22nd of 
August, 1561. 

^^ Your most humble servant and 
^^ Obedient subject, 
• ^^ Edward Warner/^ 

Anne, Duchess of Somerset, to Sir William CeciL^ 

^^ Good Master Secretary, — Hearing a great 
bruit that my lady Katherine Gray is in the tower, 
and also that she should say she is married 
already to my son, I could not choose but 
trouble you with my cares and sorrows thereof. 
And although I might, upon my son^s earnest 
and often protesting unto me the contrary, desire 
you to be an humble suitor on my behalf, her 
tales might not be - credited before my son did 
answer, yet instead thereof my first and chief 
• suit is that the queen^s majesty will think and 
judge of me in this matter according to my 
desert and meaning. And if my son have 
so much forgotten her highness calling him 
to honour, and so much overshot his bounden 
duty, and so far abused her Majesty's benignity, 
yet never was his mother privy or consent- 
ing thereunto. I will not fill my letter 
how much I have schooled and persuaded 

» State Papers, Eliz., Dom., xk., fol. 31, MS. 

1561.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 197 

him to the contrary, nor yet will desire that 
youth and fear may help excuse or lessen his 
fault. But only that her highness will have 
that opinion of me as of one that neither for 
child nor friend shall willingly neglect the duty of 
a faithful subject. And to conserve my credit 
with her Majesty, good Master Secretary, stand 
now my friend, that the wildness of mine unruly 
child do not minish her Majesty's favour to- 
wards me. And thus so perplexed with this 
discomfortable rumour, I end, not knowing how 
to proceed nor what to do therein. And there- 
fore, good Master Secretary, let me understand 
some comfort of my grief from the Queen's 
Majesty and some counsel from yourself. And 
so do leave you to God. 

^^ Your assured friend to my power, 

^^Anne Somerset.^' 

Meanwhile, an order was despatched to Paris 
to the Earl, commanding his instant return. 
He made not the slightest attempt to escape or 
shirk his share of the consequences, but at once 
recroBsed the Channel, and, hastening to the 
Court, boldly declared that aU that Katherine 
had confessed was true, and that he was her 
husband. This announcement was followed by 
his immediate incarceration in the Tower, in a 

198 lAfe and Letters of [1561. 

separate prison from his unfortunate wife ; and^ 
two days afterwards (Sept.7tli),he was formally ex- 
amined by a committee appointed by the Queen, 
and on the 12th of September Lady Katherine 
was examined in like manner. Though examined 
apart, the answers of the prisoners agreed. 
*They separately related the above circun^stances 
of their marriage, which they solemnly swore to 
be true. Since their separation, they had cor- 
responded whenever an opportunity occurred of 
sending a letter, and though they had not placed 
each, other's names in the superscription for fear 
'of discovery, they had addressed the letters : 
Hertford, '' To my Wife,'' and Katherine, 
^^To my Husband,'' or '^To my loving Hus- 

The examination was scarcely over when, on 
the 21st of September, Lady Katherine gave 
birth to a son in the Tower. He was baptized 
by the name of Edward, as the son of the Earl, 
and is known as the Lord Beauchamp, which 
was the title given to the eldest son of the house 
of Hertford. 

This new claimant to the rights of his 
house rendered the question still more serious, 
and a new examination was instituted, the 
following warrant being sent to Sir Edward 
Warner : — 

156a.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 199 

To Sir Edward Warner , Knight y Lieutenant of the 
Tower, By the Quene.^ 

" Trustie and welbeloved, we grete you well. 
When the most reverend Father in God the 
Archbishop of Canterburye, with others, have 
Comission to examyn, inquire, and judge of the 
infamose Conversacion and pretended Manage 
betwixt the Ladye Katheryn Grey and the Erie 
of Hertford: Our Pleasure is that, when the 
said Archbishop, with other the Commissioners, 
shall send to have either of the Parties to appere 
before them in that Cause, ye shall your self 
lede either of them by Water as Prisoners in 
your custodie to Lambeth: And when they 
have answered in Place of Judgment to remajTi 
under your custodie as Prisoners, and to returne 
them in lyke manner to their Places, And if 
the Commissioners shall at any Tyme send or 
come to examyn them, ye shall permit them so 
to do j for our Will is to have Justice. Geven 
under our Signett at our Pallaice of Westminster 
the 10th Daye of Februarye, the fourth Yere of 
our Reigne/' 

The Queen seems to have altered her mind, 
for, instead of the examinations taking place at 

* Hajnes, Burghley Papers, p. 378. 

200 Life and Letters of [15^2. 

Lambethj they were all conducted in the Tower, 
before Grindal, Bishop of London, and several 
commissioners. The result of the evidence was 
substantially the same, but now came the con- 
sequences of the strange ignorance of the pri- 
soners of the importance of some minor matters. 
The only witness to the marriage, the Lady Jane, 
was dead, and the clergyman who married them 
could not be found. 

The commissioners, therefore, declared that 
there had been no marriage, and that con- 
sequently the son was illegitimate. Still, even 
in this case, the prisoners had broken no law, 
but, nevertheless, they were both detained in 
the Tower. 

Low murmurs at this act of injustice were 
heard among the people, who did not scruple to 
express their disgust at the conduct of Arch- 
bishop Parker, who was believed to be the chief 
agent in their condemnation. The Earl and 
Countess refused to acknowledge the decision 
that placed a legal separation between them, and 
rendered illegitimate their only son, the heir of 
two illustrious houses, and a lineal descendant 
of King Henry VII. 

Everywhere, except among the royal syco- 
phants, they were spoken of as husband and 
wife, and Katherine was called ^^ My Lady 

^5^3*] Lady Arabella Stuart. 201 

Hertford/^ Their gaolers, too, were evidently 
among their sympathizers, and neglected that 
part of the Qneen^s commandment which ordered 
them to be kept in separate prisons. 

On the 10th of February, 1563, a second son 
was born, and baptized by the name of Thomas, 
as the legitimate son of the Earl and Kathe- 

The fiiry of the Queen was redoubled, and 
she resolved that those whom God had joined, 
the Star Chamber should put asunder. The 
Earl was cited before that scandalous tribunal 
and fined fifteen thousand pounds, and both he 
and Lady Katherine were condemned to remain 
in prison during the Queen^s pleasure. 

Katherine never saw her husband again. The 
Queen, with a mockery of kindness, had her 
prison fitted up in a manner befitting a princess 
of the blood royal, and a profusion of fine attire 
was stored in her wardrobe.* Monkeys and 
dogs were allowed her for ammement — ^in fact, 
any amount of worthless finery and toys, while, 
perhaps, never existed a woman in whose eyes 
all these things had less value. 

The Earl was placed in another part of the 
Tower, and from henceforth the dread of the 
Queen overruled any pitiful inclinations on the 
* See Appendix II. c. 

202 Life and Letters of \}b^i* 

part of the gaolers to allow him to yisit liis wife^ 
and, as he pathetically expressed it, to ^' comfort 
her in her sadness/' 

A few months after the last sentence, the 
plague broke out, and, like aU epidemics, was 
especially fatal in the neighbourhood of the 
always unhealthy State prison. The friends of 
the prisoners interceded, and Elizabeth, who was 
always keenly alive to the popular voice, knew 
well the light in which her proceedings were 
regarded. She dared not add to the severity 
already shown, by leaving her victims to die of 
the plague, and issued orders for their temporary 
removal — Katherine, to the charge of her uncle. 
Sir John Grey, one of the favourites of Elizabeth, 
as being imprisoned at the time of the Wyatt 
conspiracy, and the Earl to the house of his 

The accompanying warrant from the Lords of 
the Council bears witness to the kindly spirit 
with which the young couple were regarded by 
the nation at large, and which was in all pro- 
bability the cause of the indulgence shown in the 
treatment of the prisoners. Their separation 
was their real punishment, as Elizabeth well 
knew ; and having secured this, she was willing 
to hide her cruelty with minor ameliorations. 
* Letter of Cecil to Sir Thomas Smith. 

^S^S'"] Lady Arabella Stuart. 203 

The Lords of the Council to the Lord John 

*' After our harty Commendations to your 
good Lordships. Although it may seme strange 
unto you that without any former Knowledg 
gyven you, the Lady Catham your Lordships 
Nepee, is appoynted to be removed out of the 
Tower to your Hous ; yet we dout not but ye 
will thynk the Cause reasonable, when ye shaU 
understand it to be thus. The Queue's Majesty 
having Consideration that the Towre of London 
is envyroned with infection of the Plage, for the 
Danger that might ensue to your Nece ther, 
hath bene pleased of hir Compassion to grant 
that she shuld be removed from thence, as 
uppon much humble Suyte hir Majesty hath 
granted the like to the Erie of Hertford; and 
meaning not that she shuld be at any other 
Liberty, but to be free from that Place of 
Danger, thought best, in respect your Lordship 
is a Nobleman, and of grave Consideration to 
regard any Trust committed to you by hir 
Majesty, to committ the Custody of the said 
Lady to you hir onely Uncle and next Coosyn. 
And thus hir Majesty willed us to shew you the 
Occasion of her sending to you, and hath com- 

* Haynes, Burghley Papers, p. 404. 


204 Life and Letters of [JS^S* 

manded us also to wryte furder unto your Lord- 
ship, that hir Pleasure is, the said Lady shall re- 
mayn with you and your Wiffe, as in Custody, not 
to depart firom you untill hir Majesty^s Pleasure 
shall be furder knowen, nether to have any Con- 
ference with any Person being not of your Houshold, 
without Knowledg of your Lord or your WiflPe. 
Which hir Majesty meaneth she shuld under- 
stand of your Lordship, and observe, as some 
part of hir Punishment ; and therin hir Majesty 
meaneth herin to trye hir Disposition how she will 
obey that which she shall have in Commandment. 
And suerly of our owne Parts, for that we wish 
she should not long lack hir Majest/s Favor, but 
recover it by all good Meanes, we hartely pray 
your Lordship to have regard, that she use hir 
self there in your Houss with no other Demeanor 
than as though she were in the Towre, untill she 
may atteyne more Favor of hir Majesty. For 
we must lett you know that which is trew, hir 
Majesty hath at this present ment no more by 
this Liberty, but that she be out of the 
Towre from Danger of the Plage. And so 
we pray your Lordship lett hir playnly under- 

This is followed by the Queen's warrant for 
their removal : — 

'5^3-] Lady Arabella Stuart. 205 

The Queen to the Lieutenant of the Tower, "^ 

^^ Trusty and wellbeloved : We greet you well. 
"Wheras we be informed that the places near 
that our tower are much vilified with the plague, 
and yourself not without great fear that the 
same may enter into our tower, we are contented 
the Lady Catharyne and the Earl of Hertford, 
for the time of this danger of the plague, shall 
be in some other several convenient places out 
of the tower. Wherefore we will that the Lady 
Catharyne shall be removed to the house of the 
Lord John Grey in Essex, there to remain with 
him and his wife during our pleasure. And the 
Earl of Hertford to be removed to his mother^s 
house in Middlesex, there also to remain during 
our pleasure. And for their behaviour, our 
pleasure is that ye shall command them in our 
name, under pain of our indignation and such 
fine as we shall please to pass, that neither of 
them depart from the said places otherwise than 
to take the air near to the same, and not without 
our leave neither attempt to have any converse 

* State Papers, Eliz., Dora., xxiv., fol. 62, MS. 

206 Life and Letters of [1563. 




IRGO, the residence of Lord John Grey, 
was situated in the Manor of Haver- 
ing at Bower, in Essex, and had once 
been a royal residence. There, on the 9th of 
July, 1437, had died Joan the widow of Henry 
IV., and on the 24th of April, 1559, Queen 
Elizabeth had granted it to her devoted fol- 
lower Lord John Grey, brother of the Duke of 

Though Lord John Grey declared Katherine 
deserving of her punishment, he still wrote letters 
to Cecil begging him to intercede with the 
Queen, and Katherine herself poured forth 
piteous prayers that she might be allowed to see 
her ^' dear Lord and Husband/^ for neither Hert- 
ford nor Katherine ever admitted the shadow of a 
doubt as to their true marriage, and she invari- 

* Letter of Lord John Grey. EUis, Second Series, ii. 

1563.] Lady Arabella Stuart 207 

ably signed herself " Katherine Hertford/* To 
write directly to the Queen was hopeless ; the sup- 
pliants thereforetookthe cautious planof appealing 
to Cecil, who was to ask Lord Robert Dudley to 
plead with the Queen. But Elizabeth was deaf to 
her prayers, and the sickness of hope deferred, and 
the agony of her separation from Hertford, soon 
began to tell on the health of Lady Katherine. 
She lost all appetite for food, and sat brooding 
over her miseries, incapable of consolation. 
Sometimes her uncle would say to her, with 
the honest idea of a kind-hearted but not sensi- 
tive soul, ^' Good madame, eate somewhat to 
compfort yourself.** At his kindly voice she 
would burst into tears, and retire to her chamber ; 
and when Sir John, unable to comprehend such 
keen sorrow in one who had all the material com- 
forts of life around her, asked her ''what was 
the cause of her using herself in such manner ?** 
she would answer, " Alas, uncle, what is life to 
me ? But for my lord and my children, I would to 
God I were buried P* 

Among many letters from her uncle to Cecil, 
beseeching him to do his best to " ease her of 
this woefiil greiffe,** the following may be selected 
as giving a heartrending picture of distracted 
sorrow : — 

208 Life and Letters of [i5<S3- 

Lord John Grey to Sir William Cecil.* 
'^ The augmenting of my niece^s grief in the 
want of the Queen's Majesty's favour, enforceth 
me (besides my duty in nature) every way to 
declare and recommend unto you her miserable 
and most woefiil state ; this three or four days she 
hath for the most part kept her bed, but alto- 
gether her chamber, in such wise as I thought 
once I should have been driven to have sent for 
some of the Queen's Physicians, and I never 
came to her but I found her either weeping or else 
saw by her face she had wept. Wherefore Cousin 
CecU, for the mutual love which ought to be 
betwixt Christian men, and for the love where- 
with God hath loved us^ being his, procure by 
some way or means, the Queen's Majesties 
farther favour towards her; for assuredly she 
never went to bed all this time of her sickness, 
but they that watched with her much doubted 
how to find her in the morning, for she is 
fraughted with phlegm by reason of thought, 
weeping and sitting still, that many times she is 
like to be overcome therewith : so as if she had 
not painfalt women about her, I tell you truly. 
Cousin Cecil, I could not sleep in quiet. Thus 
with my hearty commendations to you and my 

* Ellis's Letters, Second Series, ii. p. 282. 
t Careful. 

^5^3'^ Lady Arabella Stuart. 209 

good lady my cousin, I wish you the same quiet 
of mind as to myself. — From my house at Pirgo, 
the 12th of December, 1563. 
''By your loving Cousin 

'' And assured friend to his power, 
*' John Grey. 

" To my very loving Cousin, Sir William Cecil, 
Knight, Chief Secretary to the Queen's 

At the same time, Hertford repeatedly ad- 
dressed Lord Robert to move the Queen to 
compassion, accompanying his letters with pre- 
sents, which her Majesty had the meanness to 
accept, while she turned a deaf ear to his suit. 
The accompanying letters will serve as a specimen 
of the correspondence of Hertford and Dudley, 
kindly received at first by Dudley, but of which 
he afterwards grew rather tired, especially as the 
cause seemed to become hopeless : — 

The Earl of Hertford to Lord Robert Dudley.* 
" My good Lord, — Among divers my bonds, I 
think myself not a little bound unto your Lord- 
ship for the friendly welcoming and honorable 
using my lady my mother, since her now being 
at the Court, as also your well-tried and godly 
noble ftirthering her long and troublesome suit 

* State Papers, Eliz., Pom., xxxiii. fol. 27, MS. 
VOL. I. P 

210 Life and Letters of [1564, 

for us to our most gracious Queen. Wherein, 
as always, so now I still crave your especial and 
most humble means of desire to her Majesty we 
may be unburdened of her Highness^ intolerable 
displeasure, the great weight whereof hath suflS- 
ciently taught us never again to offend so 
merdftd a Princess. And so I beseech you, my 
good Lord, now on our behalf, who pray for no 
earthly thing so much as the comfort of her too 
long- wanted favour. My trust is God will bless 
your Lordship^s travails with the finiit thereof, 
and by your means (wherein next him we only 
depend) turn the sorrowful mourning of us, her 
Majesty's poor captives, into a contentive com- 
fort. For which I rest in continual prayer. 
And so take my leave, beseeching Almighty God 
long to preserve her and make me so happy as to 
enjoy the company of so dear a Lord and friend 
as I have and do find of your Lordship. 

''From Hanworth, the 18th of March, 1683. 
'' Your Lordship's most assured friend, 
to command, 

'' Hertford. 

'' Sent by Thugans/' 

Lord Robert Dudley to the Earl of Hertford.^ 
"My Lord, — ^According to your request, I 

* State Papers, Eliz., Bom., xxxiii. fol. 28, MS. 


1564.] Lady A rabella Stuart. 211 

moved the Queen^s Majesty, at my coming to the 
Court, for your further liberty. I declared withal 
xinto her highness the hap I had to meet with 
you. And in what humble sort your Lordship 
did both to acknowledge that which was past, 
and how desirous you were to have any the least 
occasion in this world to shew your obedient and 
willing heart in doing such service toward her 
Majesty as might make some satisfaction for the 
displeasure you had incurred, which was so 
heavy and intolerable to you, as without hope 
of recovery of her favour again, you desired not 
to live. My declaration on your Lordship's 
behalf was not misliked, and having occasion to 
speak of her again when Mr. Secretary was there 
by Sunday night, who most friendly did further 
your suit. And when I also prest her somewhat 
for a comfortable answer for you, I found yet 
that she wanted stay in granting it, I would have 
been glad to have none for your Lordship. 
My Lady, your mother, likewise hath presented 
for her part the matter so earnestly and diligently 
as was possible, but as yet the time has not 
come. Your Lordship can consider princes must 
be obeyed and their wills fulfilled ; if God have 
not yet stirred her heart hereat, nothing will 
work till he be pleased, as much as we may do 
with speech and humble heart hath been, I assure 

p 2 

212 Life and Letters of [1564. 

your Lordship, for you. Love liim and fear Tn'm 
and pray earnestly to liim, for lie must be your 
chief work, and as oft as occasion and time shall 
serve, I shall not omit anything that may further 
your help to obtain the favour and comfort you 
seek. In the meantime, I will wish your Lord- 
ship patience, and not leave as opportunity shall 
yield to remember her Majesty of your heavy 
and grievous date. Thus I commend your 
Lordship to God^s grace. 

^^ In haste, this morning, 22nd March. 
" Your Lordship^s very friend, 

*^R. Dudley.^' 

The Earl of Hertford to Lard Robert Dudley.^ 

" My good Lord, — ^Like as I cannot too often 
acknowledge the great bonds I owe your Lord- 
ship, for divers your Lordship^s favours and 
friendships shewed, so can I not, having this 
good opportunity of writing by Mr. Thugans, 
let him pass without desire of carrying these few 
Lines unto your Lordship. Before whom I am 
bold to say the same and continued intolerable 
grief for our most gracious Queen^s displeasure, I 
did at the last my most happy seeing and speaking 
with your Lordship. May it therefore now 
please you to reiterate the same unto so merciful^ 
. * St:\te Papers, Eliz., Dom., xxxiii. foL 37, MS. 

1564.] Lady Arabella Stuart 213 

pitifiil a nature as her highnesses to all sorts is 
well known, and if most grievous offenders 
tasted it, we by so favorable a means as your 
Lordship receiving the comfort of her Majesty^s 
ended displeasure, may for ever, as we are most 
bounden, acknowledge the same toward her high- 
ness and your Lordship, whom I beseecn to make 
my most loving and hearty commendations to 
my Lord your brother, praying Almighty God 
to prosper her Majesty with continual felicity, 
and to send you both your hearths desire. — From 
Hanworth the 29th March. 

"Your Lordship's bounden friend and servant, 

"E. Hertford. 

^^ I am bold to beseech your Lordship to do 
me the honour to present on my behalf this poor 
token of gloves, I told your Lordship I thought 
myseK most happy, I might make for her 
Majesty, desiring likewise (if it may please you 
to do me so much favour) to send me word 
of her liking or finding fault with the same, that 
I may amend it in the next.'' 

Lm^d Robert Dudley to the Earl of Hertford.* 

^^My Lord, — I have delivered your handy- 
work my own self where you required me. There 

* State Papers, Eliz., Dom., xxxiii. fol. 37, MS. 

214 Life and Letters of [1564. 

is no fault to be found with these, for they be 
perfect in their kind. Yet if in the next you 
make the same a Kttle stronger, as I have 
shewed to Thugans, I think it be all the lack 
that may be supplied to the want in these. For 
your Lordship^s greater matter, I will not fail 
to use ttife benefit of this good time, neither 
shall you lack whatsoever I may say for the 
furtherment thereof. In the mean time, let the 
clemency of her Majesty, shewed to many, work 
the good hope in you that God will frame her 
favorable mind, knowing your faithful meaning 
to be for ever in all respects such as will seek 
to offer all dutiful recompense for the recovery 
of that is so necessary to be desired, of which, 
partly towards both, I said as time would permit 
me at my meeting late your Lordship in the 
way, and my poor fancy which proceeded of 
right good will, and shall so in the desire to do 
your Lordship that good I may be able. I do 
also bear well away that in yourself of yourself, 
which I have not let to declare as I thought to 
such as I judge it will not harm you. I cannot 
better advise you, my Lord, than to think still 
as you said then, and to think it no more now 
than you shall ftdly determine to fiilfil hereafter, 
when it shall please God to send you that liberty 


T554.] Lady Arabella Stuart 215 

you desire, and her favour I am sure you trust 
for. And no friend you have shall wish you 
sooner to enjoy it than myself, and will not for- 
bear alway to put you in mind of that I think 
meet, plainly as I think. And yet I think as 
well of you as your Lordship^s self would I 

'^ Thus an end in haste, 

" Your Lordship^s very friend, 

'' R. Dudley.'' 

At this period all chance of mollifying the 
Queen was destroyed by the injudicious inter- 
ference of a well-wisher of Katherine. This was 
John Hales, a lawyer, who had been Clerk of 
the Hanaper under Henry VIII. and Edward VI. 
He had been exiled in the time of Queen Mary, 
on account of his religion, and he returned on 
the accession of Elizabeth. He was not only a 
Protestant, but a zealous Puritan ; and that he 
was a staunch supporter of the claims of Lady 
Katherine to be considered heiress to the crown, 
is one of the strongest proofs of her attachment 
to the Protestant religion. During the illness of 
Queen Elizabeth in 1562, he had composed a 
book on the Succession, in which he had main- 
tained the title of Katherine as successor, and 

216 Life and Letters of [1564. 

vindicated her lawful marriage to the Earl of 
Hertford. Not satisfied with his own opinion 
alone, he procured that of councillors and law- 
yers from abroad, to confirm his arguments, 
and books were written on the marriage by 
Johannes Oldendorf, LL.D., by Jacobus Orm- 
phelius, by three doctors of the Imperial Chamber 
of Spires, and five doctors of the University of 
Paris.* All his arguments he laid before the 
most potent nobles ; and to such discussion did 
the affair give rise, that it went by the name of 
the Halesian tempest. The Queen became so 
alarmed and jealous as even to suspect the well- 
beloved and trusty Cecil. John Hales was com- 
mitted to the Fleet for his boldness in discussing 
the sacred question of the Succession and criti- 
cising the judgment on Lady Katherine's mar- 
riage, but '^ more specially because he communi- 
cated it to sundry persons.^'f Among these 
'^ sundry persons^' was the Lord Keeper Sir 
Nicholas Bacon, who, for no other offence than 
saying that he would present a petition to the 
Queen against the judgment on Hertford's mar- 
riage, was commanded to absent himself from 

* These works are all among the MSS. of the University 
of Camhridge. 

t Letter of Cecil to Sir Thomas Smith ; £Ilis« Second 
Series, ii. p. 285. 

i5'54.] Lady Arabella Stuart 217 

Court and meddle with nothing but his aflfairs of 
Chanc5ery. Lord John Grey, too, came under 
the royal fipown ; and such was the state of the 
royal mind, that to be a friend of Katherine was 
to be a dangerous and obnoxious person. 

At this critical period, anxiety and gout car- 
ried off Lord John Grey, and his unhappy niece 
was temporarily given in charge to Mr. Petre, a 
colleague of Cecil, and shortly afterwards, " the 
Queen^s displeasure continuing still towards my 
Lord Hertford and my Lady Katherine,^^* they 
were both transferred to the Tower. 

The former Lieutenant, Sir Edward Warner, 
was discharged for too great leniency and neg- 
lect, and was now replaced by Sir Owen Hopton, 
who was strictly charged to relax nothing in 
favour of his prisoners. 

The miserable condition of her son had at last 
subdued the selfish fears of his mother, and in 
the fourth year of his captivity we find her 
writing thus to Cecil : — 

Anney Duchess of Somerset y to Sir William CedLf 

''Good Master Secretary, after this long silence, 
and for that as yet mine old occasion lets mine 
attendance, I have presumed by letter to renew 

* Letter of Cecil to Sir Thomas Smith, 
t Ellis, Second Series, ii. p. 287. 

218 Life and Letters of \}S^S' 

my suit for my son to the Queen^s Majesty, and 
have likewise written to my Lord of Leicester, 
praying you to set in your helping hand to end 
this tedious suit, wherein for me to reason how 
much her Highness^ displeasure is too long lasting, 
or how unmeet it is this young couple should 
thus wax old in prison, or how far better it 
were for them to be abroad and learn to serve, 
avails not, but I leave those and such like 
speeches to the friendly setting forth of my good 
Lord and you : only my seeking is that as there 
is none other cause since her Majesty^s reign 
but hath had some favorable order or ende, so 
by your earnest conferring and joining with my 
good Lord, this young couple may feel some 
like of her Majesty^s plentiful mercy, to the pro- 
curement whereof, the more earnest my Lord and 
you shall show yourselves, the more shall you 
sett forth the Queen^s Majesty^s honour, and as 
a mother I must needs say the better discharge 
your calling and credit. And so resting in 
prayer that God would bless your travail to some 
comfortable end, I take my leave. 

'' Your assured loving friend, 

^^Anne Somerset.^' 

But another year rolled away, and still the 
unhappy captives were pining in their gloomy 

1566.] Lady Arabella Stuart 219 

prison. The Duchess in vain besieged the most 
influential noblemen of the Court, and, hoping 
that the solemn period of Lent might soften the 
Queen^s heart, she thus wrote to Cecil : — 

Anne, Duchess of Somerset, to Sir William CecilJ^ 

^^ Good Mr. Secretary, — If I have let you 
alone all this while, I pray you think it was to 
tarry for my Lord of Leicester's assistance, to 
whom as I have now written to take some oc- 
casion to do good in my son^s cause, so are these 
to pray you to provoke him and join with him to 
further the same, trusting the occasion of this 
holy week and charitable time of forgiveness 
earnestly set forth by his Lordship, and will 
bring forth some comfortable fruit of relief to 
the long-afilicted parties, wherein my Lord and 
you cannot go so far, but God^s cause and the 
Queen's honour bid you go farther. Thus much 
I thought good to write as giving occasion for 
my Lord and you to move the Queen's Majesty 
to Mercy, and not still to suffer this cause alone 
to rest without all favour and forgiveness. I 
can no more but once again pray your earnest 
dealing herein, and likewise that your humble 
duty of thanks for Mr. Mychell^s passport may 

• Ellifi, Second Series, ii. p. 287. 


220 Life and Letters of \}s(i(i* 

be done to her highness^ and so do leave you to 

^' Your assured loving friend, 

^'Anne Somerset/^ 

Still vain were all attempts to mitigate the 
doom of the prisoners. The vindictive anger of 
the Queen even threatened to extend to the 
younger brother of Hertford, and drew from the 
Earl the following expostulatory letter : — 

The Earl of Hertford to Sir William Cecil.* 

^^ I weU hoped after so long trouble that now, 
upon this occasion of speech for removes, some 
grace would have been obtained for us, but find 
the effect far otherwise, perceiving not only by 
Mr. Spencer that my Princess^ still-continued 
heavy displeasure continueth, likewise the ac- 
customed punishment both in restraint of 
liberty and otherwise, but also more to increase the 
sorrow of my case, therefore as I do understand 
by my brother Henry Seymour, he beareth some 
part of pain for the offence I only committed, 
to his great hinderment in a suit he hath to her 
Majesty. But, good Mr. Secretary, let it not be 
so, but following your constant favour in such 
reasonable cause, do you now shew yourself in 
♦ State Papers, Eliz., Dom., xl. fol. 13, MS. 

1566.] Lady Arabella Stuart 221 

his behalf both a friend and a father unto him. 
The thing he sueth for will be a good help 
toward his better maintenance to serve her 
Highness, which chiefly moveth my earnest re- 
membrances unto you in furthering of the same. 
For seeing it yet pleaseth not her Majesty to 
command to use again my himible duty of ready 
service, which causeth the one same great grief 
that of all other lieth next my heart, over sore 
redoubled would be the sorrow thereof, especially 
if for »y cause, my brother should be enforced 
to leave that place wherein he presently receiveth 
so great comfort in showing (as I may say) both 
our duties of service to her Highness. And 
even so recommending both him and myself to 
your godly care and wisdom, I make an end. 

" From my Lady Mason^s House in London^ 
this 24th of June, 1566. 

^' Your assured loving friend, 

"E. Hertford." 

But one of the prisoners was drawing towards 
a portal which even the cruel Queen could not 
bar against her escape. Lady Katherine was 
slowly dying — dying of grief at her separation 
from her husband. It was a spectacle 

" That might have soothed a tiger's rage, 
Or thawed the cold heart of a conqueror." 

222 Life and Letters of [1565. 

But the only mercy she could obtain was a re- 
moval from the Tower to a prison in the private 
house of some country gentleman^ and for this 
purpose an order was issued to a miserable old 
man^ Sir John Wentworth^ to receive her and 
her train, and keep close guard over her. 

Imagine an old lady and gentleman, whose 
chief business, in this life, is to take care of 
themselves and guard against all noise, trouble, 
and ailments, real or imaginary, suddenly called 
upon, in a peremptory style, to take chftrge of 
a dangerous State prisoner, with a train of 
troublesome servants, and loaded with the re- 
sponsibility of any treason or mishap of any 
kind that might occur, and we shall sympathize 
with as well as smile at the following agonizing 
epistle : — 

Sir John Wentworth to the Lords of the Council.^ 

" After my most humble duty to your good 
Lordships. Having received a letter from the 
Queen her Majesty the 13th of May, willing me 
to receive into my house the Lady Katherine 
Grey, according to the tenor of her highness' 
letter, with other letters directed unto me from 
Sir William Cecil, which said letters I have sent 

• State Papers, Eliz., Dom., xxxix. fol. 70, MS. 


1566.] Lady Arabella Stuart 223 

unto your honours to peruse, trusting that the 
Queen her Majesty, and you my good Lords of 
the Privy Council, will consider how' unmeet a 
game I am to receive such a charge, being of 
years above three score and 6, and of late much 
visited with sickness, both at my coming from 
London and also since my coming into the 
country, and my wife for this fortnight or three 
weeks hath been visited with an ague, and 
doubteth much that it will breed a quartain. 
She is, above the years of threescore and ten, 
and cannot go so much as into her garden to 
take any air, and my daughter the Lady Mal- 
travers continueth still sick and little able to 
keep any company. And your good Lordships 
will rightly understand that .my house is very 
unmeet to give the charge and safe keeping of 
such a person as the said Lady Grey is. By all 
the times of the night they may come to the win- 
dows of any chamber in my house, and talk and 
speak with her and deliver letters unto her, and, 
if she keep so disposed, she may either let them 
into her chamber or go out to them at the loops 
of the windows, if they choose thereat to abide. 
"Wherefore I most humbly beseech the Queen her 
Majesty, with the consent and advice of your right 
honorable Privy Council, that I naay be hereof 
discharged, for better it were for me to come up 

224 Life and Letters of [1566. 

to London and yield myself prisoner during my 
life, than to take upon me the charge to keep 
the said Lady in such straight order as is pre- 
scribed unto me, for that I am not able to 
discharge myself thereof according to my duty 
and trust that the Queen her Majesty hath pur- 
posed unto me in that behalf. Thus leaving to 
your Lordships, beseeching the Almighty God 
long to preserve your honours. Written this 
14th of May, 1566. 

^^ By your most humble to command, 

" John Wentworth.^' 

The unhappy knight obtained no release. 
He was obliged to receive the whole train in 
his house, and only escaped by dying within a 
year — ^possibly through the unreasonable responsi- 
bility and cares heaped upon him at such an age. 

Even the poor consolation of dying in peace 
was denied to Katherine. She was again trans- 
ferred to the care of Sir Owen Hopton, who 
was to keep her at his private house instead of 
in the Tower. The order to him shows the 
same unfeeling spirit that had all along been 
manifested, and his answer illustrates the un- 
warrantable manner in which the comfort of 
private houses could be invaded in that happy 

1565.] Lady Arabella Stuart 225 

Mr. Rook Green to Sir William Cecil.* 

'^ After my Immble duty to your honour remem- 
bered, whereas I have lately received from the 
same letters by the which I understand that the 
Queen^s Majesty^s pleasure is that since it hath 
pleased Almighty God to call unto his mercy Sir 
John Wentworth, I should take the charge he 
had of the Lady Katherine until her Highness* 
resolutions were further known therein. Foras- 
much as the funeral of the said Mr. Wentworth is 
now done, and that my Lady his wife and I, as his 
executors, have taken such order with his goods 
here as the time will serve ; I have now no further 
to do with this house, but the same doth belong 
unto her Ladyship, who, besides her great age, 
which is above 71, is grown weak and sickly, as it 
is to be feared she cannot long continue without 
she shortly amend. And, as I hear, the Lady 
Maltravers, her daughter, doth not mind to 
keep the house, but is better disposed to sojourn 
in a convenient place for her Ladyship. So 
that if I should be thought meet to have the 
charge of the said Lady Katherine, I must 
remove her from hence unto my house, which is 
nothing meet, for many respects, for such a 

* State Papers, Eliz., Dom., xliv. fol. 24, M8. 
VOL. I. Q 

226 Life and Letters of [j^S^S* 

personage. I have no wife to take the charge 
of my house, the want whereof hath occasioned 
me to Ke most part at the said Mr. Wentworth's, 
whose kinsman I was. My honse and position 
is neither within nor without famished meet to 
receive such a charge. My business is most 
times such, by the occasion of the great charge 
of children I have, that I am much enforced to 
be from my house. Sir, I do not deal thus 
plainly and truly with you for that I am loth to 
take the charge of her Ladyship (if I were meet 
for the same) for any misliking I have of her or 
hers, for I must for trutVs sake confess as one 
that hath had good experience of her Ladyship's 
behaviour, how that it hath been very honorable 
and quiet, and her Ladyship's servants very 
orderly. But my only insufficiency, and partly 
for the causes before touched, moveth me to be a 
humble suitor unto your honour to have conside- 
ration unto the Privy Council, and to be a mean 
unto her Majesty to know her Grace's resolution 
and pleasure concerning the said Lady Katherine, 
and that I may be informed of the same fix)m 
you by the bearer which I will appoint and 
perform according to my most bounden duty 
and to the best of my power. And thus 
I most humbly take my leave of your 

1567-] Lady Arabella Stuart. 227 

"From Gosfield Hall, in Essex, the 3rd day 
of October, 1561. 

" Your most humble at commandment, 
" Book Green /^ 

The Queen to Sir Owen Hopton.* 

" Right trusty and wellbeloved, we greet you 
well. Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God to 
call to his mercy Sir John Wentworth, Knight, to 
whom the custody of the Lady Katherine was by 
us remitted, we thought meet upon special trust 
of your faithfulness and discretion to commit her 
to your custody. Wherefore we will and tequire 
you that upon the sight hereof and conference 
with Mr. Book Green, one of the executors of Sir 
John Wentworth, either by himself or other 
knowledge from him in his behalf, ye do receive 
the said Lady Katherine into your custody, with 
such necessary servants as she presently hath to 
attend upon her. And that ye do not suflTer her 
to have any conference with any stranger, nor 
that auy visits be made unto her other than by 
yourself and of your household. And in case you 
shall be constrained either for pleasure or 
for neighbourhood to have any repair to your 
table, that she be not permitted to be in com- 

* State Papers, Eliz., Dom., xliv., fol. 31, MS. 


228 Life and Letters of [^567. 

pany of them, but so to be excluded as yourself 
and your wife be not thereby restrained from the 
entertainment of any of your friends. And 
generally we require you and your wife to keep 
her, as one committed to your charge, from con- 
ference or rights of strangers according to the 
trust we repose in you. And as occasion shaU 
arise wherein you shall desire to know our 
pleasure, you may thereof advertise such of our 
Privy Council of whom you shall receive answer. 
And for the charges of the debts of her and her 
necessary servants attending upon her, you shall 
be satisfied as by the aforesaid Rook Green you 
may at more length understand was answered for 
the same to the said Sir John Wentworth.^^ 

Sir Owen Hopton to Sir William Cecil* 

^' My duty most humbly remembered. May 
it like your honour to be advertised that the 
sixth of this month, I received the Queen her 
Highness^ letters, touching the charge and cus- 
tody of the Lady Katherine. Her Highness' 
pleasure wherein I shall in all points endeavour 
to accomplish as one that dare not presume to 
make suit to the contrary. Although I have 
J i cause. For it may please you to under- 

honou * State Papers, Eliz., Dom., xliv. 


T567.] Lady Arabella Stuart 229 

stand that I was presently prepared with my 
wife and small household to lie at the little 
house in Ipswich. And have disposed all things 
touching my provision in such sort as I must be 
more driven speedily to alter the same. And to 
rest in my poor house and place in Ipswich is in 
all respects unfit for the charge now imposed 
unto me. I was upon this occasion driven to 
treat with Mr. Rook Green, one of the exe- 
cutors of Sir John Wentworth, to stay the Lady 
Katherine there where she now remains tiU the 
20th of this month, at which time I mean to receive 
her. And in the mean time to furnish my self 
of things requisite as I may. And thus much I 
thought it my duty to advise your honour of 
my doings herein, I most humbly praying at all 
times your good aid and opinion in my 'doings. 
Wherein I trust not to disappoint your good 
expectation. And so I humbly take my leave, 
the 11th of October, 1567. 

'^ Yours at all times to command, 

^^ Owen Hopton.'^ 

It was the last change that Lady Katherine 
was compelled to make. Sir Owen Hopton 
received her into his country house of Cockfield 
Hall, Yoxford, Suffolk, and there she slowly but 
surely continued to sink. At the time of her 


230 Life and Letters of [1568. 

removal from tlie Tower, her husband was also 
transferred to a private house in London, belong- 
ing to Lady Mason, but no fiarther mercy was 
extended ; he was not allowed to see his dying 
wife, and was probably kept in ignorance of her 
fitate of health. 

Early in January, 1568, Katherine became so 
weak as to be obliged to keep her bed. She 
declared her belief that she should not recover, 
and Sir Owen Hopton wrote to Cecil describing 
her condition, and begging him to ask the Queen 
again to permit the attendance of Dr. Symonds, 
one of the royal physicians who had lately 
attended her.* 

But what royal physician could heal a broken 


"Cure her of that: 
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased ; 
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow ; 
Baze out the written trouhles of the brain ; 
And with some sweet oblivious antidote, 
Cleanse the stufiTd bosom of that perilous stuff 
Which weighs upon the heart ?" 

Once even this could have been done, but 
now it was all too late, and even at this hour 
she was denied a last farewell of her lonely 

* Letter of Sir Owen Hopton to Cecil.— State Papers, Eliz., 
Dom., kvi. fol. 1, MS. 

1568.] Lady Arabella Stuart 231 

On the night of the 27th of January, she 
besought the service for the dying, and listened 
to the prayers and psahns of the church, which 
she only interrupted when she had strength from 
time to time to give utterance to her supplica- 
tions to Heaven with her own lips. Her servants 
tried even then to inspire her with earthly hope, 
so pitiful did it seem to them for one so young 
to leave the world without one recompense, even 
there, for all her unmerited sufferings; and 
they said, "Madam, be of good comfort; 
with God^s help you shall live and do many 

But Katherine answered, " No, no ; no life in 
this world ; but in the world to come I hope to 
live ever, for here is nothing but care and misery, 
and there is life everlasting/' As she uttered 
these words a deadly faintness oppressed her, 
and she called out, " Lord, be merciful to me. 
Father in Heaven, for thy Son Christ's sake have 
mercy upon me I" Again, Lady Hopton tried 
to recall her to the world, and said, '^ Madam, 
be of good comfort, for with Grod his favour, 
you shall live and escape this, for Mr. Cousen 
saith you have escaped many dangers when you 
were as like to die as you be now.'' '^ No, no, 
my Lady," said Katherine, " my time is come, 
and it is not Gk)d's will that I should live any 

232 Life and Letters of [1568. 

longer, and His will be done, and not mine : as 
I am, so shall yon be ; behold the picture of 
yourselves \" 

So passed the dreary night, and, as the grey 
of morning began to break, she sent for Sir 
Owen Hopton. " Good madam, how do you do?^' 
said the knight. ^' Even now going to God, Sir 
Owen,^^ she answered, '^ even as fast as I can ; 
^nd I pray you, and the rest that be about me, 
to bear witness with me that I die a true Christian, 
and that I believe to be saved by the death of 
Christ, and that I am one that He hath shed His 
most precious blood for, and I ask God and all the 
world forgiveness, and I forgive all the world/^ 

As she uttered these words, thoughts of her 
two little sons came over her, and she said to 
Sir Owen Hopton, '^ I beseech you promise me 
one thing, that you yourself with your own 
mouth will make this request unto the Queen^s 
Majesty, which shall be the last suit and request 
that ever I shall make unto her Highness, even 
from the mouth of a dead woman: that she 
would forgive her displeasure toward me, as my 
hope is she hath done ; I must needs confess I 
have greatly oflfended her in that I made my 
choice without her knowledge, otherwise I take 
God to witness, I had never the heart to think 
any evil against her Majesty, and that she would 


15^8.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 233 

be good unto my children, and not impute my 
fault unto them, whom I give wholly unto her 
Majesty, for in my life they have had few friends, 
and fewer shall they have when I am dead, ex- 
cept her Majesty be gracious unto them. And 
I desire her Highness to be good unto my lord, 
for I know this my death will be heavy news 
for him, that her Grace will be so good as to 
send liberty to glad his sorrowful heart withal. 
I shall further desire you to deliver from me 
certain commendations and tokens unto my 

She then told her maid to give her the box 
containing her wedding-ring and ring of be- 
trothal, and, having taken out the latter, she 
said to Sir Owen, " Here, Sir Owen, deliver this 
unto my lord, this is the ring that I received 
of him when I gave myself unto him and gave 
him my faith. This was the ring of my assur- 
ance unto my lord.^^ 

She then gave the knight her wedding-ring, 
saying, '^Deliver this also unto my lord, and 
pray him even as I have been to him, as I take 
Grod to witness I have been, a true and a faithful 
wife, that he would be a loving and a natural 
father unto my children, unto whom I give the 
same blessing that God gave unto Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob.^' 

234 Life and Letters oj [1568. 

A strange remembrance followed, doubtless 
bom of the horrors of her long captivity. She 
took a third ring, set with a Death's head, en- 
circled with the motto, ^^ While I lyve yours^^ 
and said, " This shall be the last token unto my 
lord that ever I shall send him. It is the 
picture of myself.^' 

A purple hue overspread her fingers, and as 
she beheld it she said, " Welcome Death,'* and 
raising her eyes and hands to Heaven, she prayed, 
" O Lord, for thy manifold mercies blot out of 
Thy book all mine offences.'' 

As the dread Presence approached nearer and 
nearer. Sir Owen sent to the church to toll the 
passing bell. She heard the order, and said, 
"Good Sir Owen, let it be so." The solemn 
tones of the bell accompanied her dying words. 
She prayed for some time silently, and suddenly 
uttering the words, " O Lord, into Thy hands I 
commit my soul. Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," 
she closed her eyes, and gently yieldedup her spirit. 

Thus perished, at the age of twenty-nine, the 
Lady Katherine Hertford, the victim of a foul 
act of despotism, a memorable example of inno- 
cence and weakness crushed beneath the iron 
heel of power. Those who. identify strength and 
success with justice and right, and look on 


1568.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 235 

weakness and failnre as imbecilities that merit 
whatever wrongs they may receive, may here 
read a striking illustration of the eflTects of their 
favourite doctrine. 

Some, anxious to relieve the Queen from this 
dark blot on her brilliant reputation, have endea- 
voured to fasten the crimes of treason and apostacy 
on her injured cousin. But not a single proof 
has been adduced ; nothing that Queen Elizabeth 
herself could allege, as a cause of condemnation. 
Report could utter nothing but a few flying 
words, out of which the bitterest enemies of 
Katherine could not concoct a cause against her. 
Cecil, the stanchest Protestant and most loyal 
subject of his time, declared his belief in her 
innocence. She lived and died a Protestant, and 
with her last breath protested that her only 
offence against the Queen had been that of 
marrying without her consent. That act gave 
Elizabeth no excuse, for Katherine's relationship 
did not come within the degrees named by the 
statute of Henry VIII. ; and as to the plea of 
no marriage, the names given by the people to 
Katherine and her son bear witness to the 
opinion, in her own day, of her virtue and truth. 
Even looking at the marriage as false, the cause 
of morality, of which Elizabeth professed herseK 

236 Life and Letters of [1568. 

80 severe a guardian, required a conduct the very 
reverse of what she followed. A public marriage 
was the only remedy in the eyes of virtue, hateful 
though it might be to prudery, which is by no 
means a synonym for the principle it alBFects to 

Strange to say, while an exact account of the 
expenses of Katherine's funeral remains,* the 
spot where she was first interred is not recorded. 
In the parish register of Yoxford, an entry of her 
burial is still to be seen; and a tradition long 
remained among the inhabitants of Yoxford that, 
after her death, her little dog refused food and 
pined away on her grave. It is not probable 
that her husband was allowed to carry out his 
cherished desire, during the reign of Elizabeth, 
of placing the remains of'Katherine in the vault 
where his own were to rest. But that was 
eventually accomplished; and though Hertford 
was twice married after the loss of his early love, 
in death he returned to her. His second and 
third wives are buried in distant graves. Kathe- 
rine alone sleeps by his side. In Salisbury 
Cathedral, after the inscription on the tomb, 
'^Saered to the memory of Edward, Earl of 
Hertford,^' may be read the following lines :— 

* See Appendix II. e. 

3568.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 237 


















ON THE 22nd of JANUABY.* 

It has been stated by some that the imprison- 
ment of the Earl was continued for nine years after 
Katherine^s death. The exact date of his release 
has not as yet been ascertained, but a letter of 
his, dated June 10th, 167 l,t is written from his 
house at Tottenham, where he still bemoans his 
captivity. At first sight, to be a prisoner in 
his own house, seems light, but when we re- 

* The date is here erroneous. Catherine died on the 27th 
of January. 

t State Papers, Eliz., Dom., xlvi. fol. 74, MS. 

238 Life and Letters of [1568. 

member that lie was sTirrounded by spies and 
gaolers who watched him as much as if he were 
in the Tower, we can well understand his bitter 
lamentations, which express no more relief than 
when uttered from the State prison. When, at 
last, the hour of release came, his best years 
had vanished, his health was sapped, his spirit 
crushed, and all manly spring and energy were 
destroyed. The romantic lover disappears from 
the scene, and in his place appears a slavish 
courtier, trembling at the lightest word of 
the Queen. So many noble minds have been 
broken by long captivity that, saddened as 
we must feel at the degrading transformation, 
we must pause ere we condemn. Ten years' 
imprisonment, surrounded by spies, and cut 
off from every influence that could cheer and 
ennoble, needed a mind of the strongest calibre, 
as well as the physical aid of health, to pass 
unscathed through such a wasting trial. To 
offend the Queen was now the great dread of 
Hertford's life. Yet he never ceased secretly to 
endeavour to establish the rights of Katherine's 
children. In 1580, 1588, and 1589, notarial 
instruments were drawn up by Thomas Red- 
Daan, a public notary, declaring Thomas Sey- 
mour to be the " lawful and legitimate son of 
Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford and Dame 


^5^5-1 Lady Arabella Stuart 239 

Katherine his wife" * The Earl also secretly 
placed a record in the Court of Arches to prove 
his marriage with Katherine lawful and his 
two children legitimate ; but the intelligence of 
this last act reached the Queen, and she gave 
speedy proof that her hatred had not died with 
Katherine. Never should the children of her 
cousin succeed to the claims which had rendered 
their mother unbearable to the Queen. The 
Earl was immediately sent to the Tower, where, 
overwhelmed with the remembrance of his for- 
mer misery, he made such humble submission 
to her Majesty, that after imprisoning him for 
four months, she signed an order for his release, 
with the understood condition that his children 
were to retain' the stigma of illegitimacy, which 
deprived them of aU claim to the Succession 
under the WiU of Henry VIII. 

The two sons grew up to man^s estate, always, 
notwithstanding every act of Elizabeth, treated 
as the 'lawful children of Katherine, always 
spoken of by the people as Lord Beauchamp 
and Lord Thomas Seymour. 

In 1585, Lord Beauchamp married Honora, 
daughter of Sir Richard Rogers, Knight. By 
her he had two sons — Edward and William, the 
latter bom in 1587. 

* State Papers, Eliz., Dom., MS. 

240 Life and Letters of [1585. 

The above narrative will fully explain the 
Queen's sudden outburst of rage, when Arabella 
Stuart — by so many esteemed the heiress to 
the crown — ^was declared in treaty of marriage 
with William Seymour, the son of Lord Beau- 
champ, and grandson of the unhappy, injured 

* Shall 6anqao*s issne ever 

Seign in this kingdom ; 
No son of mine succeeding P" 

1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 241 



N the beginning of the year 1603, 
the Queen's health gave such decided 
tokens of failure that thosewhowerenot 
in the secret of Robert Cecilys correspondence with 
the King of Scotland began to ponder stiU more 
anxiously than ever on the fate of the kingdom. 
To many of the English nobles the prospect of 
the succession of James was distasteful in the 
highest degree. ^^Many persons,^' writes the' 
French ambassador, Beaumont, to his master, 
^'who know his (the Scotch king^s) practices, 
and consider the conduct of his life and designs, 
greatly doubt that things will go wrong by his 
means, and others fear in general his humour, 
which is said to be very cruel and avaricious.'^* 

This party, however, was not strong enough to 
organize any plan to prevent the succession of 
James, and their dislike to him was only mani- 
fested by praising Arabella Stuart, and endea- 

* Despatches of Beaumont. 
VOL. I. R 

242 Life arid Letters of [1603. 

voimng, by their words, to make her more 
popular and prominent.* Still by this conduct 
their inclinations were shown, and Arabella's name 
had too often been used as a byword by plotters 
at home and enemies abroad, to render it quite 
safe utterly to disregard these symptoms at so 
eventful a moment. 

The conduct of Arabella herself is involved 
in some mystery at this time, which, owing to 
the loss of her letters and those of the Shrews- 
bury family at this period, cannot be satisfactorily 
cleared; though, at the same time, as in the 
case of Katherine Grey, the accusations of plot- 
ting for the Succession are based on nothing 
better than rumour. 

On one side, she is accused of endeavouring, 
by marriage, to unite her claims with those of 
the house of Hertford, preparatory to assert- 
ing her right to the throne ; on the other, the 
whole affair is treated as a jest, got up by her to 
teaze the Earl of Hertford ; while a third account 
•denies that either of these ideas was entertained 
by her. Unfortunately, we have not a single 
letter or report of the opinion of those who alone 
€Ould know the truth. The French ambassador, 
who was certainly not in the confidence of Cecil, 
though shaken at times, is generally of opinion 
* Despatches of Beaumont. 


1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart 243 

that the whole matter was a trifle, while the Vene- 
tian ambassador, who, admitted for the first time, 
was not likely to possess better sources of infor- 
mation than Beaumont, unhesitatingly ascribes 
the death of the Queen to the ambition of Ara- 
bella, whom he styles, ^^ Omicida delta Regina,^^ 

A colour was added to the suspicions against 
Arabella by the suicide of her chaplain, who 
hanged himseK immediately after her arrest, an 
act which by her enemies was attributed to his 
remorse and despair at the discovery of a plot in 
which he had engaged in her behalf. But the 
French ambassador, after making particular in- 
quiries, discovered that the chaplain had com- 
mitted suicide from disappointment at having 
lost a benefice, leaving behind him a paper so 
full of the praises of Arabella that those who 
sought for grounds of suspicion, considered that 
he must have some special motive for his lauda- 

But even these reports had little effect at 
first. Arabella was not considered dangerous 
till the extraordinary effect of the report on the 
Queen gave weight to the matter. 

On the 26th of February, Beaumont writes 

* Preface to " Calendar of State Papers," Venice. By 
Eawdon Brown, Esq. 

f Despatches of Beaumont. 

K 2 

244 Life and Letters of [1603. 

to Villeroi: '^ What I have written to his Majesty 
concerning the marriage of Madame Arbella is 
confirmed by the judgment of the wisest and most 
penetrating. People are only astonished that the 
Queen has lost her repose for some days about it. 
And fearing that there is something greater than 
is known, since she shows herself to be so strongly 
moved about it. I think that this inqiiietude is 
natural and pardonable at her age about a sub- 
ject dangerous enough to be dealt with, though 
it must only be attributable to her humour.'^ 

In a letter to the French King, Beaumont 
declares his belief that the marriage " has been 
brought in question by some one who has a 
desire to get the Earl of Hertford, who is rich 
and envied, in trouble. For,^' he adds, with 
justice, " it would not be probable if there were a 
greater design in this affair that it would have 
been discovered to the Queen by the old Earl of 
Hertford and the old Countess of Shrewsbury, 
who have both the means and the authority to 
consider it together.'^ 

" On the 6th of March,^^ De Beaumont writes, 
"I have found also that the letter. which she 
(Arabella) wrote to the Earl of Hertford con- 
tained only words of courtesy and credit for the 
bearer, and not of marriage with his grandson, as 
was published.^^ 


1 6o3 .] Lady A rdbella Stuart 245 

The last letter seems to throw some light on 
the matter. Notwithstanding the slavish terror 
with which Hertford regarded the Queen, it is 
scarcely probable that he should have been the first 
to betray so dangerous a letter. The chance is 
rather that he showed the letter to Elizabeth in 
order to prove the falsehood of the reports that 
alarmed her. The following curious letter of 
Arabella is preserved in the Ashmolean Library 
at Oxford^ and is without the date of the year, 
but was probably written at this time : — 

Lady Arabella Stuart to Edward Talbot.^ 

'^NoBLE Gentleman, — I am as unjustly accused 
of contriving a comedy as you (in my con- 
science) a tragedy. Counsellers are acquainted 
with both our bad hands, but whilst we may 
wash our hands in innocence, let the grand 
accuser and all his ministers do their worst, God 
will be on our side and reveal the truth to our 
most gracious sovereign, maugre all wicked and 
indirect practises wherewith some seek to mis- 
inform her Majesty. But I thank the Almighty, 
it pleaseth her Highness to deal most graciously 
with me, and by her Majesty's commandment, 
have liberty to choose my friends, by whom I 

* Printed in Ballard*8 " Memoirs." 

246 Life and Letters of [1603. 

may better inform her Majesty of some matters 
nearly concerning herself and divers of the very 
best fidends you and I have. Therefore I re- 
quest yon most earnestly to deliver a message 
from me to her sacred. Majesty, which shall 
be greatly to her Majesty^s contentment, your 
honour and behoofe, and is of great importance. 
It requireth great haste, and I have advertised a 
most honorable privy counsellor that I have 
sent for you to employ you in her Majesty's 
service, so that you may not excuse yourself or 
lose time in your own respect, whom it concerns 
more ways than this. And of your own honor- 
able disposition, I doubt not but you would 
bestow a journey hither and to the court for my 

'^ I pray you. in kindest manner, commend 
me to my Lady Ogle and sweet Mrs. Talbot, 
whom I am very desirous to see, and entreat her 
to hasten you hither, for the sooner you come, 
the better for us all. 

^' Your Father's love and your 
" Faithfiil friend, 

'^Arbella Stuart.^' 

'To my honorable and assured good Friend, 
Mr. Edward Talbot." 

Endorsed, 16th Feb. 

1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart 247 

One of the most profound reasons for sus- 
pecting a plot was, "the great familiarity and 
ordinary communication of Mr. Cecil with the 
Earl of Shrewsbury, uncle of Madame Arbella."* 
Now that the secret correspondence of Cecil has 
been unveiled, all this is intelligible. The un- 
certain state of the Succession had long rendered 
it necessary for the peace of the kingdom that 
this most important question should not be left 
to the decision of a possible civil war, and the 
Queen herself rendered it quite impossible to 
discuss and settle the matter openly. And in 
order to prevent the hostile parties from co- 
alescing it was better, as well as from acqui- 
escence in the wishes of the Queen, to keep the 
matter a secret. But Cecil was placed in a diffi- 
cult position; and it was possibly the gnawing 
fear that he too might be in the plot, that deep- 
ened the bitterness of suspicion in the Queen, 
even if she were convinced by Hertford of the 
unfounded nature of the report of Arabella's 
marriage with his grandson. Cecil's kindness to 
Arabella made matters worse, and the probability 
is, that there was an understanding between him 
and the Shrewsbury family to keep Arabella out 
of the way tiQ the dangerous crisis should be past. 
The friendly feeling maintained between Cecil 
* Despatclies of Beaumont. 

248 Life and Letters of [1603. 

and the Shrewsburys during the whole time of 
Arabella's detention seems to justify this view of 
the matter. 

The death of the Countess of Nottingham is 
stated by all contemporaries to have produced a 
sad effect on the Queen, though none make the 
slightest allusion to the story of the ring; but 
on the contrary, her tears and anguish are uni- 
formly attributed to her affection for the countess 
and her grief for her loss. Arabella was now 
removed to Sheriff Hutton ; * and so completely 
were the people in ignorance of the real state of 
the Queen's feelings with regard to her, that a 
second and contradictory report was spread that 
she would shortly be declared heiress to the 

Henry IV. became anxious on the subject, 
and wrote to Beaumont for a personal account 
of Arabella, and desired especially to know if she 
was a Eoman Catholic. To the latter question 
Beaumont returned answer : " I have never heard 
that the said lady was of any other religion than 
that of this kingdom -" and on the 15th of March, 
writing to Villeroi, he says : ^^ Whether Madame 
Arbella will be brought to this town, and there 
made to live in prison, or at liberty, I cannot yet 
tell you, such is the diversity of opinion and 
* Lingard. 

1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart 249 

judgment ; but I think rather the last than the 
first. Some call the affair a comedy, others a 
tragi-comedy. For myself, I confess to you that 
I cannot yet see clearly enough to give any 
name. Still I always keep to my first and 
strongest opinion that I have sent you — that I 
see no great cause for alarm.^' 

Elizabeth grew worse rapidly. On the 19th 
of March, the Lords of the Council came to a 
resolution to close the ports if the Queen's 
malady increased. On the same day, Beaumont 
wrote to the King of France by far the most 
reasonable explanation of the Queen's condition 
that has been given. Physical causes were at 
the root of her decay, and her state of bodily 
health rendered her unable to cope with phantoms, 
which, to the eye of disease, appeared monstrous 
realities. The Queen, who had passed tri- 
mnphantly through a reign beset with every 
danger that can waylay a crown, — ^who had not 
lost a grain of courage when- the whole force 
of the mightiest kingdom in the world was 
sent forth to attack her — ^was not likely to crouch 
and die terror-stricken or heart-broken because 
a woman was said to be plotting to succeed her. 
Elizabeth had one way of acting in these cases — 
viz., to seize the suspected persons, and shut 
them up in some safe prison, without muck 

250 Life and Letters of [1603. 

melancholy on the subject. Long before it was 
suspected, her health was undermined. In 1601, 
when she went to open Parliament, the weight of 
the royal purple, hitherto so proudly borne, proved 
too heavy for her aged and sinking frame. She 
staggered, and would have fallen but for the 
support of the peers who stood near her. And 
though she went through all the business of the 
State, and six weeks before her death is described 
by the Venetian ambassador as if in good health, 
stiQ, despite all her jewelled and gorgeous attire 
and brave bearing, the spoiler was sapping her 

On the 19th of March, Beaumont wrote to 
the King of France : " I have thought it my duty 
to send a courier to your Majesty in advance, in 
order to tell you that, since seventeen days, the 
Queen has been very ill. And that, having 
slept little or nothing during this time, and 
eaten much less than usual, she is seized with a 
restlessness which is yet not a decided fever* 
She has an insupportable fire in the stomach and 
a continual thirst in the mouth, which constrains 
her every minute to moisten it, in order that the 
hot dry phlegm with which she is pressed may 
not choke her. Some attribute the cause of her 
illness to the extreme displeasure that she has 
conceived in her mind about what has passed 

1 6o3 .] Lady Arabella Stuart 251 

concerning Madame Arbella; others about the 
affairs of Ireland, in which she was forced by 
those of her Council, against her nature and 
courage, to give the pardon she had so long 
refused to the Earl of Tyrone. Many also de- 
clare that she is seized in her heart with remorse 
for the death of the Earl of Essex, who was 
beheaded just two years ago. All agree that she 
is worse. She has shown an extraordinary melan- 
choly in her countenance and her actions. But 
it is much more probable that the infirmities of 
her age and the fear of death have played the 
greatest part; for, besides the admirable care 
that she takes to preserve her health, by the 
regimen of her life and the tempering of her 
passions, I do not think that the above causes 
have been sufficient to make such a change in 
her mind, that her body would feel it with such 

A member of Lord Burghley^s household, and 
therefore one who must have had good chances 
of knowing the truth, also writes of her last days : 
" She was wholly addicted to silence and solitari- 
ness, which gave occasion of suspicion that she 
was afflicted in mind ; but being moved by some 
of her Council to impart such grief as they 
doubted might trouble her, she answered, that 
she ' knew nothing in the world worthy to trouble 

252 Life and Letters of [1603. 

her/ And it is a constant opinion of such as 
were most inward with her, that she was then 
free from any such impression, as it is not alto- 
gether unlikely, considering that melancholy 
diseases (as physicians tell ns) proceed not always 
from the indisposition of the mind, but sometimes 
from the distemperature of humour in the body, 
causing a kind of numbness and stupefaction of 
the senses/^* 

The same authority tells us that, on being 
desired to provide for her spiritual wants 
and recommend her soul to God, she replied, 
mildly, ^^ That I have done long ago/' And 
Camden, who was also a contemporary, speaks 
of Arabella's proposed marriage as '^a false 

The story of Arabella's conduct having any- 
thing to do with the Queen's death may there- 
fore be dismissed as one of the unfounded 
reports got up by those who, ignorant of real 
causes, will assign any rather than acknowledge 
themselves not admitted to confidence. The 
melancholy and morbid feelings that saddened the 
last hours of Queen Elizabeth, and which have 
afforded so eloquent a subject for shallow moral- 
ists to discourse upon, were simply such as might 
have beset the best and strongest nature clouded 
* Ellis, " Letters," Third Series, vol. iii. p. 194 

1 603 .] Lady Arabella Stuart 253 

and struggUug with a mortal malady. Con- 
temptible is the spirit that would extract the 
petty triumph of a Pharisee from the pangs of 
departing greatness, and represent those agonies 
as the effect of a life which, darkened as it was 
with the spots of a semi-barbarous and despotic 
age, had proved invaluable to the best interests 
of her country, and stands out in glorious con- 
trast with those of her wholly selfish and inferior 

On the 22nd of March, the ports were closed, 
and Beaumont writes : '^ For three days, the 
Queen has been looked upon as dead, having 
remained very long in a cold sweat without 
speaking, and sometime before, she had said she 
wished to live no longer and desired death. 
Yesterday, and the day before yesterday, she 
began to repose and to feel better, after a little 
gland in the form of an imposthume, or, as 
some say, an ulcer in her throat, had burst,, 
which greatly relieved her.^^ 

On the 28th, he writes : '"The illness of the 
Queen continues and grows worse, with signs 
and symptoms such as make her life generally 
despaired of. She already seems in a state of 
stupefaction, and remains sometimes for two or 
three hours without speaking. For two days, 
she has remained seated on cushions, with her 

254 Life and Letters of [1603. 

finger almost always in her mouthy her eyes open 
and fixed on the ground/' 

On the 1st of April, he writes : " The Queen 
draws now towards her end. Since yesterday, 
she has been given up by all her physicians. 
She has been lifted into bed by force, having 
been for ten days seated on cushions dressed, 
and without wishing to repose or undress for 
a single hour. She seemed better, and asked 
for some broth, which gave her attendants some 
hope. But shortly after, speech left her, and 
since then she has eaten nothing, and now re- 
mains lying on her side, without speaking or 
looking at any one. Yesterday she had some 
meditations read to her, and among others those 
of M. Duplessis. In this state, I do not think 
she can make a will or declare her successor. 
The Lords of the Council have already begun to 
call together the earls and barons of the king- 
dom who are in the city, and have sent for the 
greater number of those absent, among whom 
the Earl of Hertford has refused to come.'' 

On the night of the 23rd of March,* the lord 
admiral, the lord keeper, and the secretary,* 
Cecil, approached the bedside of the Queen, and 

* MS. of Lady Southwell. The dates of Beaumont's letters 
are five days later than those of the English State Papers. I 
have, however, given them unaltered. 

1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart 255 

asked her to name her successor. She seemed 
still speechless, and, perhaps to test the state of 
her intellect, they asked if the King of France 
should succeed her. She returned no answer ; 
and when they proposed the King of Scotland 
she still remained mute. A third time they 
spoke, and proposed the Lord Beauchamp, eldest 
son of Katherine Grey. That name pierced 
even the " dull cold ear '^ of approaching death. 
Elizabeth for an instant recovered speech, and 
with inextinguishable hate she spent her last 
eflTorts against the son of her dead rival. She 
said hastily, '^ I will have no rascal's son in my 
seat '" and spoke no more in this world. By 
various signs she was supposed to intimate her 
wish that James should succeed her, but, like all 
such signs, obscurity confuses them, and nothing 
of certain import can be drawn from such vague 
intimations. A few hours after midnight she 
ceased to breathe; and, by the precautions of 
Cecil and his friends, the unjust Will of Henry 
VIII. was disregarded, and the country thus 
saved from civil war ; the King of Scotland was 
proclaimed so peacefully, that Beaumont de- 
clared "there appeared no sort of alteration 
or division any more than if the reign had 
not changed, every man having returned to 
his trade and his business, and the Lords of 

256 Life and Letters of [1^03. \ 

the Council to assemble and dispense justice as ] 

before/' 1 

That Arabella was considered harmless and I 

innocent by all those most likely to be informed, 1 

may be judged by her being appointed chief 
mourner at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth. 
But the coldness and suspicion with which she 
had for so many years been regarded by her 
royal kinswoman now had its natural effect. 
She rejected the proffered honour, saying, that 
"sith her access to the Queen in her lifetime 
might not be permitted, she would not after her 
death be brought upon the stage for a public 

And a public spectacle she certainly would 
have been, attracting the liveliest curiosity afker 
all the gossip that had lately been circulated 
against her. 

Mystery stiQ hangs over the report which, 
carried to every Court of Europe, threw a doubt 
over the English Succession, which was not 
solved tUl the peaceable proclamation of James 
dispersed the phantom. One thing, however, is 
remarkable as exhibiting the spirit of the time 
with regard to matrimony. No astonishment is 
exhibited at the discrepancy of age in the two 
parties, nor is that once alleged as an obstacle. 

* Sloane MS., 718. 

1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 257 

At the time that Arabella Stuart was accused of 
making the proposal, she was twenty-seven and 
William Seymour a boy of fifteen ! But these 
things never stood in the way of a political 
alliance. Charles IX. of Prance was not only 
proposed as a husband for Queen Elizabeth, but 
the silly boy declared himself desperately ena- 
moured of her. It is true there are occasions 
in which even so great a diflference in age, and 
" on the wrong side/^ as the saying is-r-^.e., when 
the woman is older than her husband — ^proves no 
impediment to mutual happiness. Sut then 
both parties must not only be characters above 
the average, but the younger must be of an 
age in which the character is settled and serious 
enough to feel the ftdl measure of the respon- 
sibilities of life — old in wisdom and knowledge, 
if young in years. Such were the conditions 
that crowned with felicity the marriage of Eliza- 
beth Rowe, who was twelve years older than her 
husband ; and that of the celebrated Kahel 
Vamhagen von Ense, who, in a union with a 
man thirteen years younger than herself, found 
a devotion and a faithfiilness for which youthful 
beauties continually sigh in vain, so rare are 
they indeed under any circumstances. But in 
both these cases the lovers were exceptional men, 
high above the common standard, and requiring 

VOL. I. s 

258 Life and Letters of [1603* 

that intellectual and spiritual sympathy only 
needed and recognised by a peculiar and profound 
order of mind. 

That Arabella Stuart could feel the slightest 
gleam of love for a boy of fifteen was impossible^ 
and the charge brought against her in 1603, 
would, if proved, stamp her as a worldly, specu- 
lating woman, capable of sacrificing the highest 
feelings of her nature to an alliance, suitable 
in birth and fortune, but ridiculous in every 
other respect — at the time she is first accused. 

1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart 259 



In the 5th of April, 1603, the Solomon 
of Britain set ont on horseback, with 
a large retinue, for his English domi- 
nions. Through every town he passed, a gorgeous 
hospitality and welcome awaited him, enough to 
dazzle the man who, in his poverty-stricken 
realm of Scotland, had not money enough for 
his household without the aid of Queen Eliza- 

His first act of ungraciousness was shown in re- 
pulsing the people who came iA crowds to see him, 
by declaring that their multitudes rendered provi- 
sions so dear wherever he went, as to oppress the 
country, and that, therefore, only those who had 
special business should be allowed to approach 
him, ^^ some of great name and office being sent 
home to their places.^' Among these were Sir 
Walter Raleigh, whose proud spirit could ill 
brook the afiront, and Lord Cobham, afterwards 
associated with him in the charge of treason. 

s 2 

260 Life and Letters of ^[1603. 

The Earl of Shrewsbury had signed the pna-- 
clamation^ and now, with the accustomed loyalty 
of his fiimily, he gave the King a royal reception 
at Worksop, one of the houses built by Bess. 
Here James should also have been received 
by Arabella, but for some reason she appears to 
have still remained at Sheriff Hutton; though 
the offer made to her to attend the late Queen^s 
funeral seems to prove her at liberty. 

Earl Gilbert invited his friends from far andnear, 
and swept the country for '^fatt capons, hennes, 
partridges, and the like.^^* As the King rode 
through the park, a number of huntsmen, dressed 
in green, came out and offered to show him some 
game — a piece of politeness dearer to the heart of 
James than anything else could be. He accepted 
the offer and, after a vigorous chase, he went 
into the house, where, says a tract of the time, 
" he was so nobly received with superfluitie of all 
things, that still every entertainment seemed to 
exceed other.^^ Excellent music accompanied a 
luxurious and profuse banquet, after which the 
King retired to rest, and after breakfast the next 
morning, took his departure. Such a store of 
provision was left after the breakfast of ''fowl, 
fish, and almost everything, besides bread, beere, 
and wine, that it was left open for any man that 

* Letter of the Earl of Shrewsbury. — Hunter's "Shef- 
faeld," 93. 

1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 261 

would to come and take/^ No wonder that Earl 
Gilbert got in debt. There was, however, besides 
the traditional hospitality of his house, a special 
need for him to show his loyalty as the imcle of 
Arabella Stuart. Thirteen knights were made 
among the EarFs friends by the King at Worksop. 
But at the next station, the King performed a 
deed ominous of the way in which he could 
render justice. A man being taken up for 
stealing, was, without trial, hanged by the com- 
mand of the King, while a number of prisoners, 
without special claim, were set free from prison, 
as examples of the royal mercy. The next 
most loyal reception was at '^Maister Oliver 
Cromwell^s,^^ uncle to the renowned Protector. 
James entered his house in state, preceded by the 
Earl of Southampton, who carried the sword of 
state, and there experienced the most luxurious 
entertainment, not excepting that of the Earl of 
Shrewsbury, that had been given him since his 
departure from Scotland. Such plenty and 
variety of meats, such diversity of wines, and 
those " not riffe ruffe but ever the best of their 
kinde.^^ Beer and ale flowed in like proportion, 
and as the cellars were open to every man^s call, 
we need not be surprised that the company who 
flocked ^^to see the King^^ was greater than 
any since his progress. Here the heads of the 
University of Cambridge, clad in scarlet . gowns 

262 Life and Letters of [1603. 

and comer caps, attended and read a Latin 
welcome to his Majesty, and presented liim witli 
some books in commendation of the late Queen. 
" Maister Cromwell " also presented him with a 
'^very great and a very faire- wrought standing 
cup of gold, goodly horses, flete and deepe- 
mouthed houndes, divers hawkes of excellent 
wing,^^ and also gave fifty pounds to be distri- 
buted among the King's servants. James royally 
expressed his satisfaction by saying, at his de- 
parture, ^'Morry, mon, thou hast treated me 
better than any one since I left Edinburgh,^' a 
speech not less remarkable for its elegance than 
for its delicacy to those who, having, like poor 
Gilbert Shrewsbury, plunged themselves into debt 
and difficulty to welcome the King, found their 
efforts now sink into insignificance. 

On the 11th of May, James arrived at White- 
hall, and the pomp of the long series of receptions 
over, Cecil waited on him to speak in behalf of 
Arabella. She had been, during the progress of 
James, transferred from Sheriff Button to Wrest 
House, the seat of Henry, Earl of Kent, who had 
married one of the daughters of Earl Gilbert,* 
and was here a kind of prisoner, though treated 
as one of the family. On the accession of James, 
seeing that the whole nation received him with such 

* Letter of the Earl of Shrewsbury.— Lambeth MS. 709, 
foL 15L 


1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart 26^ 

Tinanimoiis satisfaction that no danger was to be 
apprehended from those who might have made a 
rallying-point of Arabella, Cecil probably induced 
the King to send orders for her release, for when 
James arrived in London, Arabella was at liberty, 
and had already had an interview with him when 
Cecil appealed on her behalf. A little uneasiness 
still remained. After a long conversation on 
the subject, James told Cedl that he thought the 
Earl of Kent^s house, from whence Arabella 
• came, was still the fittest place for her.* But 
Cedl was aware of her high spirit, and that, if 
provoked, she might really revolt and cause much 
trouble; whereas kind treatment would induce 
her to act according to his wishes. He therefore 
told the King that he thought '^ she wotdd not 
go thither nor to any other place as commanded 
thereunto, for so she might think that she were 
still as under a kind of restraint, and that now 
she had spoken with his Majesty, if she had not 
given him satisfaction, she might conceive that 
she should never be able to give him satisfaction, 
and so it would redouble her grief and afflic- 
tion of mind wherewith she had been too long^ 
already tormented.^' He therefore asked the 
King '^ to deal tenderly with her,^^ and to send 
her word, ''that forasmuch as he had spoken 

• Letter of the Earl of Shrewsbury.— Lambeth MS. 709, 
fol. 161. 

264 Life and Letters of [1603. 

with her and found her so well inclined to do 
all things that might give his Majesty satis- 
faction, he would leave her to the charge of her 
own good discretion, assuring himself that she 
would do nothing of moment whatsoever without 
his privity and good allowance/^* As James 
still hesitated, Cecil promised that, if the King 
would agree to this, though he would not order 
her to limit herself to any place, yet that he, 
with the Earl and Countess of Shrewsbury, would 
undertake that Arabella should choose a residence 
with the Marchioness of Northampton at Sheen. 
On this the King agreed to Cecilys request. The 
royal message was sent to Arabella, and she was 
once more at liberty. 

Cecil found no difficulty in fulfilling his part 
of the bargain. Arabella went to Sheen, and 
from thence addressed the two following letters to 
Cecil on the subject of an allowance as a scion 
of royal blood. He acted very cautiously, for 
it would not have done to press the claims of 
Arabella too closely. The King was well inclined 
to her, and it was better to have patience. 

Lady Arabella Stuart to the Lord Cecil.f 
" My good Lord, — I presume to trouble your 

* Letter of the Earl of Shrewsbury.— Lambeth MS. 709, 
fol. 161. 
t This and the following letters from the Sloajie M^** 

1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart 265 

Lordsllip in renewing that Bluest wluch when 
I last spake with you, I could not please you to 
grant, or at least to let me know you would 
make me bound to you in that kind ; that is, 
that it would please your Lordship to remember 
the King's Majesty of my maintenance, which if 
it be not a matter fit for you (as which your 
Lordship hath already dealt in) my Uncle of 
Shrewsbury is greatly deceived, or hath deceived 
me. But I suppose neither, and therefore pre- 
sume so much of your honorable disposition that 
you will endeavour to obtain me that which it 
will be for his Majesty^s honour to grant. And 
therefore your Lordship, in that respect (if there 
were no other), I doubt not, will perform more 
than it was your pleasure to promise me, I think, 
because you would have the benefit greater 
coming unpromised. And so wishing your 
Lordship increase of honour and happiness, I 

. '' Prom Sheen, the 14th of June, 1603. 
'^ Your Lordship^s firiend,* 

'^Arbella Stuart.'^ 

4164, are taken from copies made by Birch of the originals, 
then in the possession of Lord Wej'moath, and now among 
the manuscripts of the Marquis of Bath. 

* " Lord," " Sir," and " Mr.," are frequently used almost 
indiscriminately for the same person in the old manuscripts. 
Cecil was only a Knight at this time. 

266 Life and Letters of [1603. 

Lady Arabella Stuart to Lord Robert Cecil.* 
" My good Lobd^ — It hath pleased his Majesty 
to alter his purpose concerning the pension 
whereof your Lordship writ to me. It may 
please to move his Majesty that my present want 
may be supplied by his Highness with some 
sum of money which needeth not be annual^ 
if it shall so seem good to his Majesty. But I 
would rather make hard shift for the present, 
than be too troublesome to his Highness, who 
I doubt not will allow me maintenance in such 
liberal sort as shall be for his Majesty's honour, 
and a testimony to the world no less of his 
Highness^ Princely bounty, than natural affection 
to me. Which good intention of his Majesty^s, 
I doubt not but your Lordship will further, as 
you shall see occasion, whereby your Lordship shall 
make me greatly bounden to you, as I already 
acknowledge myself to be. And so with humble 
thanks for your honorable letter, I recommend 
your Lordship to the protection of the Almighty, 
who send you all honour and contentment. 
" From Sheen, the 22nd of June. 

" Your Lordship's poor firiend, 

'^Arbella Stuart.'' 

Superscribed, "To the Eight Honorable, my 

very good Lord, the Lord Cecil." 
Endorsed, " 22 June, 1603, Lady Arbella Stuart 

to my Lord." 

•Ballard's "Memoirs." 

1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart 267 

Lady Arabella Stuart to Lord Robe^H Cecil.^ 

" My good LobDj — I humbly thank your Lord- 
ship that it will please you amongst your great 
affairs to remember my Suit to his Majesty for 
the alteration of my pension. I hope I shall 
shortly have the means to acquaint your Lord- 
ship with it myself. If I should name two 
thousand pounds for my present occasions it 
would not exceed my necessity, but I dare 
not presume to crave any certain sum, but 
refer myself wholly to his Majesty's considera- 
tion, and assure myself I shall find your 
Lordship my honorable good friend, both in 
procuring it as soon, and making the sum as 
great as may be. So with humble thanks to 
your Lordship for your continual favours, I re- 
commend your Lordship to the protection of the 
Almighty. Prom Sheen, the 23rd of June, 1603. 
" Your Lordship^s poor friend, 

'^ Arbella Stuart. 

Superscribed, " To the Right Honorable, my 
very good Lord, the Lord Cecil." 

The submission of Arabella to go to Sheen 

had a good effect. James manifested the most 

kindly spirit towards her, and appointed her 

state governess to his eldest daughter, the 

* Ballard's "Memoirs." 

268 Life and Letters of [1603. 

Princess Elizabeth^ according to a custom whicli 
required that office to be filled by the lady 
nearest of the blood royal. She was allowed to 
go to her uncle's at Welbeck, to meet the Queen, 
and make the acquaintance of her royal charge. 
Early in June^ Queen Anne of Denmark de- 
parted from Scotland^ to follow her consort to 
their new dominions. Bess of Hardwick was 
Tery anxious to receive her at Chatsworth, and 
deputed Arabella to invite the royal traveller. 
But an impleasant memory was attached to Bess, 
as the gaoler of the king's mother, Mary, Queen 
of Scots, and Anne of Denmark declined the in- 
vitation — a refusal which was rendered doubly 
mortifying to Bess, as the Queen accepted that 
of her bitter enemy and former ally, Gilbert, Earl 
of Shrewsbury. Again that unhappy man, 
steeped as he already was in debt, was obliged 
to plunge into fresh expenses to give a worthy 
reception to the Queen and her children at his 
house at Worksop. Sir Henry Pierrepoint, who 
had married a daughter of Bess, had also the 
honour of entertaining her Majesty at his house 
at Holme Pierrepoint. But it was at Welbeck, 
the residence of her uncle. Sir Charles Cavendish, 
that Arabella first made the acquaintance of the 
Queen and Princess. The account of the meeting 
exactly illustrates thQ artificial manners of the 

1603.] Xa(iy Arabella Stuart 269 

time, and is quoted from the words of an eye- 

" One day as we were coming down a hill in 
Nottinghamshire, we perceived a great company, 
which, as we drew near, appeared like what you 
have read of the shepherds and shepherdesses of 
Arcadia. One band was of young women dressed 
all in white, with garlands on their heads, and 
on their arms baskets of flowers, which they 
strewed along the road, followed by young men 
clad also in white, and playing on the tabor, pipe, 
and all kinds of rural instruments, leading a flock 
of sheep, whose wool was white as snow. Cornu- 
copias, and other emblems of peace and plenty, 
were carried by several of the party, singing 
choruses in praise of the royal family, and of the 
blessings of peace, which their accession was to 
secure to the whole Island. 

" A troop of hunstmen arrayed in green and 
silver came next, conducting a herd of tame 
deer with their horns tipped with gold. These 
swains told us that Diana, hearing of the Queen^s 
approach, was coming to invite her to repose 
herself in one of her retreats. They hardly 
ended their speech, which was in verse, when we 
heard the sound of bugles from a neighboip'ing 
wood, out of which we saw several beautiful girls 
advance, attired like nymphs ; and last of all 

270 Life and Letters of [1603. 

appeared Diana — ^that is^ a lady representative of 
the goddess^ who proved to be the Lady Arabella 

The spectacle met with complete success. The 
young princess was charmed with her state 
governess, and ^^ was never happier than when in 
her company/'t Arabella joined the Queen's 
train, and by her conversation and powers of 
pleasing rendered the rest of the journey to 
London lively and agreeable. 

The duties of Arabella were merely nominal, 
LadyKildare and Lady Harrington having the real 
work to perform. Consequently, when the Princess 
Elizd.beth separated from the rest of the company 
in order to rest at Combe Abbey, the residence 
of Lord Harrington, Arabella did not accom- 
pany her, but followed the Queen and Prince 
Henry to London. 

At Althorpe, the seat of Sir Robert Spencer, 
the royal travellers were sumptuously entertained, 
and at their entrance into the gardens, a masque 
composed by Ben Jonson was given to them, 
and was so well received by the Queen, as to be 
the forerunner of many orders to the poet for 

* Extracted from a MS. " Life of Elizabeth of Bohemia." 
Quoted by Miss Strickland, " Lives of the Qaeens of Soot- 
land," viii. p. 7. 

t Ibid. 

1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 271 

similar wares, wliicli brought in a comfortable 
income, thougb about as creditable to his genius 
as a tavern sign-board to an artist. 

At Easton Neston, at the seat of Sir George 
Fermor, the travellers were met by the King, 
and from thence proceeded to Windsor, where 
they were joined by the Princess and her two 

At Windsor, the King held a chapter of the 
Garter, in order to install as Knights of that 
ancient order Prince Henry, then a little boy 
nine years old, the Duke of Lennox, Lord South- 
ampton, the Earl of Pembroke, and the Earl 
of Mar.* The Queen, who was at enmity 
with the Earl of Mar, refused to be present, 
on account of Mar being among the 
favoured ones, but the Princess Elizabeth, with 
Lady Arabella, witnessed the ceremony from a 
recess in one of the windows of St. George^s 

After it was over, the Queen held a drawing- 
room, at which was present with Arabella, her 
aunt, Mary of Shrewsbury. Both were " most 
sumptuous in appaxell, and exceeding rich and 
glorious in jewels.^^J Probably Arabella's were 

* Lady Anne Clifford's Diary. 

t Howe's "Chronicle." 

t MS. " Life of Elizabeth." Quoted by Miss Strickland. 

272 Life and, Letters of [1603. 

partly firom the restored legacy of her grand- 
mother^ Margaret Lennox. 

Shortly after this^ the Princess Elizabeth was 
consigned wholly to the care of Lady Harrington 
and her husband. When the Princess was 
ready to depart for Combe Abbey^ she found 
it almost impossible to part firom Lady Arabella^ 
to whom she had become deeply attached ;* only 
the assurance that Arabella was still to be her 
state governess and see her at all vacations could 
console her. Arabella herself then set out on a 
visit to her relations^ and^ after a short stay in 
the country^ returned to the Courts which was 
now driven from London by the plague, and 
was resting temporarily at Famham^ whither Earl 
Gilbert accompanied her. 

Her naturally high spirits, and the spies by 
whom she was surrounded^ made Gilbert anxious 
lest she should incautiously give utterance to 
words that might be distorted into mischief^ and 
he gave her much good advice about her conduct 
at Court. Arabella was herself in some trepida- 
tion. The restraint under which Cecil had so lately 
thought it necessary to place her^ had shown 
her that she had stood on the verge of a pitfall 
Earl Gilbert especially warned her against levity 
and mirth^ and anxiously charged her to maintain 
• MS. " Life of Elizabeth." Quoted by Miss Strickland. 


ij5o3.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 273 

the high dignity of her birth and station with 
becoming gravity. He gave her a letter of 
introduction to the Lord Chamberlain, and, 
bidding her farewell with great affection, 
he took his departure for the north. Shortly 
after, he received jfrom her the following 
epistle : — 

Lady Arabella Stuart to Gilbert, Earl of 

^' I humbly thank you for your Letter to my 
Lord Chamberlain Sidney in my behalf, which I 
have not yet delivered, and for letting me under- 
stand your course, which though it bend di- 
rectly northward, will not hinder you from think- 
ing and looking to the South, where you leave 
me to take my fortune in an unknown climate, 
without either art or instruction, but what I 
have from you, whose skilftd directions I will 
observe as far forth as they are Puritan like. 
And though I be very frail, I must confess, yet I 
trust you shall see in me the good effects of your 
prayer and your great glory for reforming my 
untowardly resolutions and mirth, for great 
shall the melancholy be that shall appear in my 
letter to you, which as the best preservative of 

* Sloane MS., 4164. 
VOL. I. T 


274 Life and Letters of [1603. 

healthy I recommend to you, to whom I wish 

long life, honour, and aU happiness. 

" From Famham, the 14th of August, 1603. 

" Your Disciple, 

"Abbella Stuabt/^ 

** To the Eight Honorable, my very good Un<^, 
• the Earl of Shrewsbury." 

As yet the application of Arabella for an 
allowance had been unsuccessful. Her position 
was certainly a hard one. She was commanded 
to reside at Court — a Court where all the ladies 
were expected to dress magnificently and make 
numerous presents, besides aU their other own 
unavoidable expenses. As a princess oi the blood 
royal, she was to maintain a retinue suitable to 
her royal dignity ; and as all these expenses had 
begun before any income was settled, she was 
getting yet more deeply into debt, and anxious 
and irritated at the manner in which she was 
treated. She wrote again to her good uncle, be- 
seeching him to write to Cecil and counteract the 
influence of Lord Henry Howard, who spitefiilly 
endeavoured to hinder her obtaining that allowance 
of " Diete^' which she required for the mainte- 
nance of her household. Notwithstanding the 
hard manner in which Arabella had been treated 
by Queen Elizabeth, she evidently turned with 

1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 275 

disgust from the first "besotted levity and 
blatant joy'' with which the fickle courtiers 
hailed her successor. The miserable gossip and 
petty scandals of the " great and gracious ladies'' 
who had flattered the late Queen, and done all 
in their power to encourage her foibles, while 
they contributed nothing to her greatness, were 
revolting to Arabella, who now wrote the fol- 
lowing letter to her Aunt Mary : — 

Lady Arabella Stuart to the Countess of 
Shrewsbury ,'^ 

" Madame, — I have written to my Uncle how 
the world goes with me. I beseech you get him 
to write to Lor^ Cecil in my behalf, and to take 
notice of his and my Lord H. Howard's crossing 
the King's intention for my allowance of diet. 
I think that makes others deny me that the 
King granted, and makes even himself think 
anything enough, when the wise counsellors think 
it too much. You know his inclination to be 
kind to all his kin, and liberal to all below, and 
you know his protestations of extraordinary aflfec- 
tion to me. Therefore I am sure it is evil 
counsel that withholds him so long from doing 
for me in as liberal sort, or more, as he hath done 
for any. The Queen was very desirous to have 
♦ Sloane MS., 4164, fol. 168. 

T 2 

276 Life and Letters of . [1603. 

accompanied the King. When she speaks of 
yon^ she speaks very kindly and honorably of 
you. Onr great and gracious ladies have no 
gesture nor fault of the late Queen unremem- 
bered, as they say who are partakers of their 
talk^ as I thank God I am not. Mr. Elphin- 
stone is my very good friend and yours much 

'^ I pray you let me hear of my faults from 
you when you will have me mend them, for I am 
sure you shall hear of them there, and I have 
neither those faults which are thought so here, 
nor those qualities good that are most gracious 
here. Now you are a bystander, you may guide 
and direct better than ever. 

^' I hereby take my leave, praying the Al- 
mighty to send you all happiness. 

'' From Basing, the 23rd of August (1603?). 
^^ Your Ladyship^s niece to command, 

^^ Abbella Stuart. 

" I beseech you, commend me to my Uncle 
Charles and my Aunt, and all my Cousins with 
you. Sir William Stuart remembereth his ser- 
vice to you and my Uncle.^' 

Arabella, admired and caressed as she had 
been when a chUd by aU who saw her, had lost 
none of her attractions. The approving maimer 
in which both James and his Queen spoke of 

1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart 277 

her, had removed all fear of arousing his jealousy, 
and her frank and open heart won her friends on 
all sides. No party was complete without her — 
envy alone detracted from her merits. Yet the 
excitement of the Court was little to her taste. 
Forced as she was to squander precious hours in 
useless ceremonies and idle masques and games 
with which the Queen and those around her 
killed the time that hung so heavy on their 
hands, still Arabella contrived to reserve fixed 
hours for ^tudy, now rendered doubly valuable 
by the difficulty with which they were obtained. 
Her spirits were high, and gave her an appear- 
ance of almost dangerous gaiety, which, while 
it enchanted the strangers round her, gave cause 
for care to those who knew her best, and were 
aware how the most innocent actions can be 
misinterpreted and misreported. Among the 
courtiers was a simple knight, named Sir William 
Fowler. He was the son of Thomas Fowler, the 
executor of Margaret Lennox, and as such had 
been brought into connexion with the Shrews- 
bury family. He kept up a constant corre- 
spondence with Earl Gilbert, informing him of 
what passed at Court, the disposition, humour; 
&c., of the King and Queen, advising him as to 
his behaviour to them, and all the little news 
which is invaluable to a courtier, who depends so 
much on the smile or frown of a monarch. Ara- 

578 Life and Letters of [1603. 

bella^ too. wrote a weekly chronicle to the Shrews- 
burys — ^unhappily only a few letters of which 
fiurviTe — ^but in which we have doubtless lost one 
•of the most perfect pictures of a court that ever 
were written, if we may judge firom the speci- 
mens that remain. But entertaining as her 
letters were,.Gilbert wanted to know what passed 
in her absence^ and matters that she could not 
impart, and indeed any news was welcome. 
Fowler had only just been introduced to Arabella, 
of whom, however, he had long heard such 
reports that he might well esteem it an unlooked- 
for joy when he obtained an introduction to her. 
Enraptured as he was with his acquaintance, yet 
even he, who is spoken of as a simpleton, seems 
to have perceived dangers that he dared not dis- 
close in so perilous a missive as a letter. Writing 
to Gilbert, after describing Arabella as an 
''^eighth wonder of the world,^^ he adds, omi- 
nously, " If I durst, I would write more plainly 
my opinion of things that fall out here among us, 
but I dare not without your Lordship^s warrant 
•deal so.^^ He then encloses a sonnet> ^^ to the 
honour of her whose sufficiency and perfections 
merit more regard than this ungrateful and 
depressing age will aflFord or suffer.'^ 

I transcribe the sonnet, because, notwith- 
standing the fantastic language, it gives a true 

1603.] Lady AraheUa Stuart 279 

idea of Arabella in her serious moments in those 
hours of study and intervals from the frivolities 
of the Court: — 

" To The Most Verteous And Trewlye Sbnorable 
^ Lady Arhella Stewart, 

" Whilst organs of vaine sence transportes the ^inde^ 
Embracing objectes both of sight and care^ 
Toatch, smell, and tast, to which frail flesh indinde, 
Preferrs such trash to thinges which are more deare, 
Thou godlie nymphe possest with heavenlie feare, 
Divine in sonle, devote in life, and grave, 
Eapt from thy sence and sex, thy spirits doth steire, 
Tries to avoyd which reason doth bereave. 
graces rare ! which time from shame shall save, 
Wherein thou breath'st (as in the seas doth fish 
In salt not saltish), exempt from the grave 
Of sad remorse, the lott of worldlinge's wish. 
ornament both of thyself and sex ! 
And mirrour bright, wher virtues doth reflex." 

Ridiculous as these lines may be, taken as 
poetry, they nevertheless convey the honest 
opinion of the worthy knight, whose fit office 
was that of Secretary and Master of Requests to 
Queen Anne of Denmark. Foolish as may have 
been his manners and style of talking, he was as 
faithftd and devoted to the "bright particular 
star " of his idolatry as a cleverer man could 
have been. He was never weary of sounding her 
praises ; the sight of her poured joy into his heart, 
and he gave utterance to his feelings with an 

280 Life and Letters of [1603. 

artlessness that^ sneered at as it was by all around 
Mm^ and by all who have spoken of him^ was yet 
kindly received by Arabella^ who knew well how 
rare is an honest heart, how honorable a sincere 
affection, let it come from whom and in what 
guise it may. She made no '^ game ^' of Fowler, 
never " snubbed '^ him, or exhibited him as a 
triumph or ridiculous spectacle to her acquaint- 
ance, and while she gave him no hope of any 
tender feeling on her part, she treated him with 
that due respect and gratitude which a lofty- 
minded woman must feel for a man who has either 
offered or would offer the highest and noblest gift 
in his power — ^the guardianship of his honour and 

Fowler was not the only correspondent of 
Earl Gilbert at Court on the subject of Ara- 

Gilbert had, in compliance with her request, 
made another appeal to the King about her 
allowance through Mr. William Stewart. 

Stewart, like Fowler and the Earl himself, saw 
the dangers that surrounded her, and wrote 
begging Gilbert not to relax his care and advice. 
The following letter, while it insinuates nothing 
in the least derogatory to Arabella, yet mani- 
fests the anxiety of a good and true friend to 
her : — 

1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 281 

Mr. William Stewart to the Earl of Shrewsbury.^ 

'^I have had some speech with his Majesty 
eonceming my Lady Arbella and the purpose 
which your honour had with me upon the river 
at Richmond, whereunto your honour may be 
assur^ his Majesty is wonderful well disposed 
or affected, seeing thereby one singular well to 
him and his by the well-doing of that good turn 
as appertains. Your honour and your good 
lady will consider by this what the matter means, 
being loth to be more special until my own 
touching there, which I intend shall be shortly, 
and God please after his Majesties removing 
from here toward Winchester in this next week. 

" I do most heartily beseech your honour and 
my good Lady to continue writing from time to 
time your wise and loving opinion to my Lady, 
your Honour's most tender and dearest niece, 
who I doubt not in time, with wisdom, patience, 
and good government, shall both be blest by God 
and . For although her virtue and know- 
ledge has been envied of to me, yet her Ladyship 
has acquired many favourers and sundry well- 
affected to her humour and good merits by her 
good behaviour. 

"William Stewart. 
" Woodstock, Sept. 13, 1603." 

* Sloane MS., 4161, fol. 15. 

282 Life and Letters of [1603, 

The application of Stewart was successM^ and 
Arabella received an allowance from the King's 
table of '' a diet '' and eight hundred pounds a 
year.* Two hundred pounds were given in ad- 
vance, in order to pay the most pressing of her 
debts; and in addition to this, among the free 
gifts of the Exchequer for 1603, is an eiftry of 
six hundred and sixty pounds ^^to the Lady 

When we remember that she was two thousand 
pounds in debt, it will be seen that, notwith- 
standing this free gift, she was still deeply 
embarrassed, a fact which will explain her anxiety 
to obtain money, as well as that economy cannot 
be numbered among the virtues of her ladyship. 

The " diet '^ was considered as a part of the 
income allowed to an oflBicer of the household or 
a member of the royal family, and was one of the 
most important aids where there was anything like 
a retinue, and Arabella appears to have had one 
or two ladies and gentlemen in waiting, besides 
her servants, who must have fared rather hardly 
out of her allowance of eight hundred a year for 
Court expenses, at any rate, as far as salary was 
concerned. What was the exact number and 
description of dishes allowed to Arabella, I have 
been unable to ascertain, but some idea may be 
* Letter of Cecil to the Earl of Shrewsbury. Lodge, iii. 

1 603 .] Lady Arabella Stuart 283 

gathered from the diet allowed to a lady appa- 
rently similarly circimistanced in the reign of 
Henry VIII.* 

King Henry VIII. to the Lord Steward and other 
Officers of the Household, appointing tJie Diet 
for "the Lady Lucy. 

'' Henry R. By the King. 

^'We will and command you to allow daily 
and from, henceforth unto our right dear and 
well-beloved, the Lady Lucy, into her chamber 
the diet and fare hereafter ensuing : — 

Pirst, every Morning at Breakfast — 
One Chine of Beef at our Kitchen. 
One Chete Loaf and one Manchet at our 

Pantry Bar. 

A gallon of Ale at our Buttery Bar. 

Item. At Dinner — 
A piece of Beef. 
A Stroke of Boast. 
A Reward at our said Kitchen. 
A Cast of Chete Bread at our Pantry. 
A Gallon of Ale at our Buttery Bar. ' 

Item. At Afternoon — 

A Manchet at our Pantry Bar. 
Half a Gallon of Ale at our Buttery Bar. 
* Ellis's " Letters," First Series. 

284 Life and Letters of [t6o3. 

Item. At Supper — 

A Mess of Porridge. 

A Piece of Mutton. 

A Reward at our said Kitchen. 

A Cast of Chete Bread at our Pantry. 

A Gallon of Ale at our Buttery, 

Item. At after Supper — 
A Chete Loaf and a Manchet at our Pantry 

A Gallon of Ale at our Buttery Bar. 
Half a Gallon of Wine at our Cellar Bar. 

Item, Every Morning at our Wood Yard — 
Four tall Shids and two Faggots. 

Item, At our Chaundry Bar in Winter every 
One Pricket. 
Four Sizes of Wax. 
Eight Candles, white lights. 
One Torch. 

Item, At our Pilcher House, weekly — 
Six White Carps. 

Item. At time of our Removing — 
One whole Cart for the Carriage of the 

Given under our Signet at our Manor of 

3603.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 285 

Easthampstead^ the 16tli day of July^ the 14th 
Year of our Eeign. 

" To the Lord Steward of our Household, the 
Treasurer, Comptroller, Cofferer, Clerks of 
our Green Cloth, Clerks of our Kitchen, and 
to all other head Officers of our said House- 
hold, and to every of them." 

To the above was added a small quantity of 
sack^ on occasion of illness. During the latter 
years of the reign of Elizabeth, this privilege 
became greatly abused, and sack, instead of being 
restricted to a medicine, was served up at meals 
as an ordinary drink. James determined to 
correct this abuse, and limited the quantity of 
sack to twelve gallons a day, not for the use of 
the whole household, but only for such of the nobi- 
lity as were allowed a diet, who were to make a 
special application when they required any sack. 

Arabella had therefore no reason to complain 
of the King on his first accession to the throne. 
He treated her as a near relation, and fiilly 
acknowledged her rank by always giving her the 
first place after the Queen and the royal children. 
The confidence of James seemed complete in her, 
as well as in the families of Hertford and 
Shrewsbury. On the death of Queen EKzabeth, 
reports were set about that Lord Beauchamp 
was endeavouring to gather a force to assert her 

286 Life and Letters of [1603. 

claim to the Saccession^ and a letter was even 
despatched to the Earl of Shrewsbury to that 
eflfect.* The rumour was a natural supplement 
to the story of Arabella's proposal for Lord 
Beauchamp's son^ and is apparently as well 
^worthy of credence.t 

This year was memorable for the bad weather 
and the plague. More than three thousand 
in London and the suburbs died of this terrible 
disease in one week. James lived in such 
terror of infection that the people were forbidden 
to crowd round him, and the Court was in 
constant movement from one place to another, 
becoming, literally, " a camp volant, which every 
week dislodgeth.^' 

Woodstock was now the place pitched upon. 
It contained an ancient palace, which had been 
so long out of use as only to serve as a prison 
for Elizabeth when princess. There was, how- 
ever, good hunting, and James, regardless of the 
comfort of his courtiers, had it roughly fitted up 
for himself, while the household were obliged 
to camp even in tents pitched near. Cecil 
speaks bitterly of the arrangements, so different 

* Letter of Pierrepoint to the Earl of Shrewsbury. Hun- 
ter's " Hallamshire." 

t " There was a rumour two days since that the Lord Beau- 
champ stood out and gathered forces, but it waS a false 
alarm.'* — Chamberlayne's " Letters." 


J 603.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 287 

from the pomp that always accompanied Eliza- 
beth on her journeys. Says he, " The place is 
unwholesome, all the house standing upon 
springs. It is unsavoury, for there is no savour 
but of cows and pigs. It is uneaseful, for only the 
King and Queen, with the privy chamber ladies, 
and some three or four of the Scottish Council, 
are lodged in the house ; and neither Chamber- 
lain, nor one English Councillor, have a room, 
which will be a sour sauce to some of your old 
friends, that have been merry with you in a 
winter^s night, from whence they have not re- 
moved to their bed in a snow-storm." Two 
letters are preserved of Arabella from Woodstock. 

Lady Arabella Stuart to Countess of Shrewsbury,^ 

'' Madame, — If you receive the letters I write, 
I am sure you see I fail not to write often how the 
world goeth here, both in particular with me and 
otherwise as my Intelligence stretcheth. Where- 
fore I rather interpret your postscript to be a ca- 
vefit to me to write no more than how I do and 
my desire to understand of your health, that is, no 
more than is necessary than a new Commandment 
to do that which I already do. But lest, in 
pleasing you, I offend my Uncle, I have ad- 
ventured to write to him one superfluous letter 

* Sloane MS., 4164, fol. 178. 

288 Life and Letters of [1603. 

more^ and that I may include no serious matter 
in his^ I send you all I have of that kind^ which 
is that the King hath under his hand granted me 
the aforesaid mess of meat* and £800 per annum y 
and my Lord Cecil wiU despatch it, I trust with 
aU speed, for so his Lordship promiseth. Your 
long expected messenger, by whom I should 
have understood your mind, is not yet come, 
and the Queen is going hence to-morrow; but 
the change of place will not cease my expecta- 
tion till I understand &om you, you have changed 
your mind in that matter, which if you do, I shall 
hope it is with a mind to come up shortly and 
let me know it yourself, according to a bruit 
we have here, which I would fain believe. You 
shall not fail to receive weekly letters, God 
willing, or some very great occasion hinder me. 

^' Mr. Elphinstone, who, you may see, is with 
me late as well as early, remembers his service 
to you. And so I humbly take my leave, pray- 
ing the Almighty to send you all honour, happi- 
ness, contentment, &c. 

^^ Your Ladyship^s niece to copamand, 

'^ Arbella Stuart.'^ 
Indorsed, 16 Sep. 1603. 

* A " mess of meat" was generally an allowance for four 
persons. A " diet" generally included more than one " mess." 
Arabella's allowance is spoken of in both terms. 

1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 289 

Lady Arabella Stuart to the Earl of Shrewsbury,* 

''At my return firom Oxford where I have 
spent this day, whilst my Lord Cecil amongst 
many more weighty affairs was despatching some 
of mine, I found my Cousin Lacy had dis- 
burdened himself at my chamber of the charge 
he had from you, and straight fell to prepare 
his freight back, for hindering his back re- 
turn to-morrow morning as he intendeth. 

" I write to you of the reason of the delay of 
Taxis^t audience; it remaineth to tell how 
jovially he behaveth himself in the interim. He 
hath brought great store of Spanish gloves, 
hawks' hoods, leather for jerkins, and, moreover, 
a perfumer. These delicacies he bestoweth 
amongst our Ladies and Lords, I will not say 
with a hope to effeminate the one sex, but cer- 
tainly with a hope to grow gracious with the 
other, as he already is. The curiosity of our 
sex drew many Ladies and gentlewomen to gaze 
at him betwixt his landing-place and Oxford his 
abiding place, which he, desirous to satisfy (I 
will not say nourish that vice), made his coach 
stay, and took occasion with petty gifts and 

* Lodge, ill. 
t The Spanish Ambassador. 
VOL. I. U 

290 Life and Letters of [1^3. 

courtesies to win soon iron affections ; who, codei- 
paring his manner with Monsieur de Rosny's^ 
hold him their far welcomer goest. At Oxford 
he took some distaste about his lodgings and 
would needs lodge at an inn, because he had not all 
Christ's College to himself, and was not received 
into the town by the Vice Chancellor tit poniifi- 
ealibui, which they nerer use to do but to the 
King or Queen or Chancellor of the University, 
as they say ; but those scruples were soon di- 
gested^ and he vouchsafeth to lodge in a piece 
of the College till his repair to the King at 

'' Count Aremberg* was here within these few 
days^ and presented to the Queen the Arch- 
duke's and the Infanta's pictures excellently 
drawn. Yesterday the King and Queen dined 
at a lodge of Sir Henry Lea's, 8 mUes 
hence, and were accompanied by the French 
Ambassador^ and a Dutch Duke. I will not say 
we were merry at the Dutchkin, lest you com- 
plain of me for telling tales out of the Queen's 
coach ; but I could find in my heart to write 
unto you some of our yesterday's adventures, but 
that it groweth late, and, by the shortness of 
your letter, I conjecture you would not have this 
honest gentleman overladen with such superfluous 
* Ambassador from Austria. 

1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart 291 

relations. My Lo. Admiral is returned from 
the Prince and Princess, and either is or will be 
my cousin before incredulous you will believe 
such incongruities in a counsellor, as love maketh 
no miracles in his subjects, of what degree or age 
whatsoever. His daughter of Kildare is discharged 
of her office, and as near a free woman as may be, 
and have a bad husband. The Dutch Lady my Lord 
Wotton spoke of at Basing proved a Lady sent 
by the Duchess of Holstein to learn the English 
fashions. She lodgeth at Oxford, and hath been 
here twice, and thinketh every day long till 
she be at home, so well she liketh her entertain- 
ment, or loveth her own country ; in truth she 
is civil, and therefore cannot but look for the 
like, which she brings out of a ruder country. 
But if ever there were such a virtue as courtesy 
at the Court, I marvel what is become of it, 
for I protest that I see little or none of it but 
in the Queen, who. ever since her coming to 
Newbury hath spoken to the people as she 
passeth, and receiveth their prayers with thanks 
and thankful coimtenance, barefaced, to the great 
contentment of native and foreign people; for 
I would not have you think the French Am- 
bassador would leave that attractive virtue of 
our late Queen Elizabeth unremembered or un- 
commended, when he saw it imitated by our most 

V 2 

292 Life and Letters of [j^oj, 

gracious Queen^ lest you should think we infest 
even our neighbours with incivility. But what 
a theme have rude I gotten upon unawares ? It 
is your own virtue I commend, by the foil of 
the contrary vice ; and so, thinking on you, my 
pen accused myself before I was aware. There- 
fore I wiU put it to silence for this time, only 
adding a short but most hearty prayer for your 
prosperity in all kinds, and so humbly take my 

" From Woodstock, the 16th of September. 
" Your Lordship^s niece, 

^ Arbella Stuart.*^ 

The next move of the Court was to Win- 
chester ; and here, notwithstanding the pestilence 
and the distress of the country, extravagant 
banquets and entertainments were given, and 
hunting pursued in the usual reckless manner, 
to the exclusion of business and work. 

Arabella was drawn into the vortex, and, 
much against her will, obliged to dance attend- 
ance on those whose only object seems to have 
been to get rid of life in the most useless manner 
possible. But still she reserved fixed hours for 
study, and it was only by rigidly insisting on 
them that she was at all able to break loose 
from the profligate crowd amid which she dwelt. 


1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart 293 

And yet there was no home to which she conld 
turn a longing eye ; no gentle remembrance of 
better things for her. The splendid seats of her 
relations in the country were all marred and 
poisoned by discord, for her grandmother Bess 
was on the most dismal terms with the Earl 
Gilbert, who seems to have been the one for 
whom Arabella cared the most, and her Aunt 
Mary, as the daughter of Bess and the wife of 
Gilbert, and the inheritress of a difficult temper 
and unbridled spirit, was not one who could 
make matters much more cheerful. Arabella 
was alone, as she had always been, in the midst 
of a crowd — and still she strove to make the 
most of her position, and extract such happiness 
as was possible under the circumstances. Fowler 
bears witness to her life at this time, as ^^ more 
fairer than fair, more beautiftd than beauteous, 
truer than truth itself/^ and Sir W. Stewart 
writes, '' I find my Lady Arbella both considerate 
and wise.'^ What time she could rescue from 
vanity was spent in ^' lecture, reading, hearing 
of service and preaching.^'t Ambitious eyes 
were lifted towards the fair student, but all hint 
at marriage was sternly and utterly silenced 
by her. As yet she had found none with 

• Fowler to the Earl of Shrewsbury. Lodge, iii. 
t Ibid. 

294 Life and Letters of [1603. 

whom she could feel such sympathy as she 

required. Her next letters give a hint of her 

Lad"^ Arabella Stuart to the Countess of 

" Madam^ — According to your commandment^ 
I send your Ladyship a few scribbled lines, 
though I be now going in great haste to give my 
attendance with some company that is come to 
fetch me. I am as diligently expected, and as 
soon missed, as they that perform the most ac- 
ceptable service. And because I must return at 
an appointed time to go to my book, I must 
make the more haste thither. So praying for 
your happiness, I humbly take my leave. 

" From Winchester the 6th of October, 1603. 
" Your Ladyship^s niece to command, 

^'Abbella Stuabt.'^* 

Lady Arabella Stuart to the Earl of Shrews- 

*^ I humbly thank your Lordship for the (as 
to me it seemed, I assure you) short letters of two 

* Sloane MS., 4164, fol. 179. 
t Ibid. 

j^oj.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 295 

sheets of paper, which I received from you by 
this Bearer, Mrs. Nelson. 

" The letters to my Lord Cecil, Sir Thomas 
Edmonds, were deliyered, though not so soon as 
I wished, they being both absent from hence, so 
that Sir Thomases was delivered to the door- 
keeper of the Council Chamber, and Sir Thomas 
not coming thither so soon as was expected, Mr. 
Harley thought good to fetch it from him ; and 
now he hath since disposed of it. I know not 
nor doubt not but he hath done with it as you 
would have him, for he seems to me very well 
instructed in your mind. My Lord Cecil had 
his as soon as he came. 

" My bad eyes crave truce till they may, with- 
out their manifest danger, write a letter of a 
larger volume. And so praying for your Lord- 
ship's honour and happiness in the highest degree 
that ever subject possessed, I humbly take my 

" From Fulston, the 27th of October, 1603. 
'' Yotir Lordship's niece, 

^'Abbella Stuart.'' 

. On the 2fld of November, 1608, we find an 
order by virtue of the Kiiig's privy seal, bear* 
ing date the 17th day of September last, for 
payment of " £200 to the Lady Arbella Stuart as 

296 Life and Letters of [1603. 

for one quarter's rent of £800 yearly, due and 
payable to the said lady by virtue of the said 
privy seal/'* 

This was her second quarter's instahnent, the 
first having been anticipated. It came in good 
time, for expenses were approaching. 

James, not a whit less rapacious than Eliza^ 
beth, expected the customary presents. New 
year's tide was approaching, and the Countess 
Mary now warned her niece to be in good time 
with some appropriate gift, that would win the 
hearts of the King and Queen. The short letters 
are attributable to the ill-health that now assailed 
Arabella, possibly also to the fear of transmitting 
news that began to be dangerous, and nearly 
affecting her. In her note of November 6th, 
there is a faint indication that things are not 
so pleasant as heretofore between herself and her 
aunt Maiy. 

Lady Arabella Stuart to the Countess of 

"Madame, — I humbly thank you for your 
good advice against New year's tide. I think 
there will be no remedy but I must provide 

• Devon's " Pell Records," p. 6. 
t Sloane MS., 4164, fol. 180. 

1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart. 297 

myself from London^ though being loth to 
do so. 

" I tmderstand by Sir William Stewart how 
much I am bound to you and my unde. 

'^I will bethink myself against your long 
expected trusty messenger come, whatsoever he 
be, and that expectation shall keep me from 
troubling you with so full and tedious a discourse 
as I could find in my heart to disburden my 
mind withal to you. 

''I humbly thank you for my servant, G. 
Chancellor, and so praying for your happiness I 
humbly cease. 

'' Prom Fulston, the 4th of November, 1603. 

" Your Ladyship's niece to command, 

" Aebella Sttjaet.'^ 

Lady Arabella Stuart to the Countess of 

" Madame, — Because I received a letter from 
you by this gentlewoman, I dare not for incur- 
ring her opinion of my relapse into some un- 
kindness toward you, but send you a few lines. 
I will keep (account?) of all the dates of my 
letters. That letter of yours which I received 
since by Mr. Harley I have answered by him. 

* Sloane MS., 4164, fol. 180. 

298 Life and Letters of [1603. 

''My eyes are extremely swoln, yet I have 
not spared them, when I had occasion to employ 
them for your sake. Therefore now they may 
boldly crave a cessation for this time, only per- 
forming their office whilst I subscribe myself, 
such as I am and will continue, that is 
"Your Ladyship's niece to command, 

''Arbella Stuart/' 
Indorsed, 6 Nov., 1603. 

Lady Arabella Stuart to the Countess of 

''Madame, — I humbly thank you for your 
letters, pill, and hartshorn. I have taken, con- 
tinued, and increased an extreme cold. 

" Mrs. Cooke can tell you how the world goes 
here. And so praying for your happiness I 
humbly take my leave. 

" From Fulston, the 28th of November, 1603. 
" Your Ladyship's niece to command, 

"Arbella Stuart." 

Lady Arabella Stuart to the Earl of 

"I must only return your Lordship humble 
thanks for the letters I have received, and reserve 

♦ Sloane MS., 4164. 
t Ibid., fol. 181. 

1603.] Lady Arabella Stuart 299 

the answer^ till I trust a few days will make me 
able to write without extreme pain of my head. 

'^Mr. Cooke can tell your Lordship all the 
news that is here. 

" And so praying for your Lordship^s happi- 
ness, I humbly take my leave. 

'' From Fulston, 28th of Nov., 1603. 
•" Your Lordship^s niece, 

^^ Arbella Stuart.'* 





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